NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sharp Edge Labs announced on Monday it has been awarded a $156,000 Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop biosensor technology.
The grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute will be used to develop biosensor technology for measuring the levels of molecules involved in cancer. Specifically, the Pittsburgh-based firm will explore the feasibility of developing immunosensors that combine antibodies for specific recognition with its Fluorogen Activating Peptide technology that generates a signal upon binding.
FAP is exclusively licensed by Sharp Edge. The technology was invented by the firm's co-founders Alan Waggoner and Marcel Bruchez, both professors at Carnegie Mellon University.
Scott Sneddon, president and CEO of Sharp Edge and principal investigator on the grant, said that in the current state of technology, each biosensor recognizes only very specific molecules. As a result, each sensor needs to be designed from the ground up, a costly and time-consuming process. Sharp Edge aims to develop biosensors that can recognize numerous molecules with its new antibody-FAP technology.
"The technology to be developed under this grant will simplify antibody assay procedures, increase the selectivity of existing antibodies, and provide sensors that can be 'multiplexed' allowing several different molecules to be detected simultaneously," Sneddon said in a statement. "We expect that this technology will have immediate application in the research laboratory and could eventually be used in clinical applications, especially point of care and patient self-testing."
The focus of the Phase 1 project is on a prototype for probing p53 activation states and HER-n complex formation, which are crucial in understanding cancer. Sharp Edge said that if the approach proves successful, the technology could be adapted for other disease areas, diagnostic settings, and the research lab.
Sharp Edge is privately held and was founded in 2010.