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Roddenberry Foundation Grants $1.2M to Elypta, Avalo, Thylacine Biosciences

NEW YORK – The nonprofit Roddenberry Foundation announced on Tuesday that it has awarded $1.5 million to six science and technology companies, including diagnostic firms Elypta and Thylacine Biosciences and genotyping company Avalo.

Early cancer detection company Elypta won the $1.0 million grand prize, while Thylacine and Avalo each received $100,000. Candidates were chosen from a pool of organizations nominated by more than 300 venture capitalists, impact investors, and foundations, and all awardees will receive non-dilutive funding, the Roddenberry Foundation said in a statement. 

Solna, Sweden-based Elypta is developing blood and urine tests for multi-cancer early stage detection in asymptomatic adults by profiling glycosaminoglycans as markers of cancer metabolism. The firm raised $21 million in a Series A financing round last June and is working on tests for bladder cancer and kidney cancer.

Thylacine Biosciences is developing its Nucleic Acid Barcode Identification Tool, a handheld, battery-powered testing device that uses self-contained test kits and returns results in less than 30 minutes. The NABIT uses loop-mediated isothermal amplification technology and detects pathogens through integrated photodetector sensors, according to the firm's website. 

Avalo uses a patented method and artificial intelligence to identify gene regions of interest and craft a digital genotyping panel to predict the performance of new crop varieties. It also uses advanced predictive evolution and in silico optimization to create those new crop varieties. 

The other three awardees were seed treatment firm Andes, clean technology company Vesta, and Alga Biosciences, which is developing technology to stop the production of methane from cows. The Roddenberry Foundation awards a biennial prize to early-stage science and technology organizations that contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to improve life across the globe.