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Intrinsic LifeSciences Awarded $4.45M SBIR Grant for Anemia Test Development

This article has been updated to correct the name of Intrinsic's CEO.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Intrinsic LifeSciences today said it has been awarded a $4.45 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant to further develop its test for the differential diagnosis of a recently discovered genetically based form of anemia.

Characteristics of the condition, called Iron Refractory Iron Deficiency Anemia (IRIDA), are similar to anemic pediatric and adolescent patients without IRIDA, and current tests are unable to differentiate IRIDA from non-IRIDA anemia, Intrinsic said. The company seeks to address this with its Hepcidin Index test, which is based on monoclonal antibodies to hepcidin and intended for the rapid diagnosis of IRIDA "without expensive genetic testing or extensive clinical workups," Intrinsic CEO Mark Westerman said in a statement. The test would also help guide physicians to select appropriate therapies for patients with genetic or acquired anemia.

Hepcidin is a master regulatory hormone that controls dietary absorption and circulating plasma iron concentrations required for normal blood production in the bone marrow.

Intrinsic said it will use the SBIR grant to establish cGMP/ISO compliant manufacturing of Hepcidin Index and perform a clinical study at Boston Children's Hospital to validate the test for the differential diagnosis of IRIDA from other acquired forms of microcytic anemia.

Intrinsic is headquartered in La Jolla, Calif. and develops diagnostic tests and biomarker panels targeted at genetic and acquired iron disorders, including congenital anemias, hemochromatosis, and inflammatory diseases in which iron homeostatis is dysregulated, it said on its website.