IntegriDerm of Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I research grant to use its DermArray skin biology microarray for research related to skin diseases.
With the $177,165 grant awarded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, IntegriDerm scientist Ernest Curto will use the DermArrray to study differences in gene expression between normal skin cells and cells with skin cancer, as well as the effects of different skin treatments on gene expression in keratinocytes, (epidermal cells that synthesize the protein keratin).
The project will also develop specialized array analysis programs for pharmacological and toxicologic data.
“One of the objectives ultimately is to use the data obtained from the first phase to move towards diagnostic product that could be used for more of a clinical setting,” said Thomas Dooley, the company’s CEO.
IntegriDerm, a startup located within 5,000 square feet of Research Genetics’ facilities, focuses on genomics research for dermatology, as well as discovery of new dermatologic products, especially those involved in hair growth and skin pigmentation. Invitrogen, Research Genetics’ parent company, has a minority stake in IntegriDerm, which also has received funding from a previous NIH grant. The company has garnered additional revenues from sales of the DermArray, which it developed in partnership with Invitrogen.
The DermArray includes about 4,400 human genes related to skin biology and 800 ESTs situated on a nylon membrane. The company introduced this product a year ago, and currently sells it for $1,460 per five-time use array to customers within the skin care industry and academia.
To select genes for its DermArray, IntegriDerm uses a proprietary patent pending gene selection technology that Dooley said “gives you a higher probability of giving you an over or under-expressed gene response relative to a randomly chosen gene,” hybridized with your sample.
IntegriDerm recently applied this technology again to select genes for a new pharmacology and toxicology array, winnowing down 40,000 human cDNAs to about 4,400 relevant genes. The company plans to introduce this product, PharmArray, July 1, Dooley said.