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LaserGen Receives SBIR Grant from Army to Use NGS Technology for Pathogens

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – LaserGen today said it has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research grant to demonstrate the feasibility of its next-generation sequencing technology in applications involving combat soldiers.

The Houston-based firm's technology will be evaluated by the US Army Medical Research and Material Command, or USAMRMC, on its ability to identify microbes commonly found in wound infections in combat soldiers.

LaserGen did not disclose the terms of the grant, and a company spokesperson did not return a call seeking comment.

LaserGen's sequencing chemistry, called Lightning Terminators, was unveiled at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology conference last month where the firm demonstrated "highly accurate" sequencing of the E. coli genome, it said.

Lightning Terminators relies on modified nucleotides with a terminating group attached to a newly created "hydroxylmethyl handle," which enables use of natural polymerases. The technology, LaserGen said on its website, results in higher accuracy than natural nucleotides, and enables potentially longer read-lengths.

USAMRMC's goal is to develop a rapid and portable method of identifying pathogens in a wound site so that a specific antibiotic treatment can be used. The current practice of using a broad spectrum of antibiotics has contributed to the emergence of multidrug anti-resistant bacteria, and LaserGen's chemistry along with its proprietary imaging technology may result in more effective therapeutic treatment and a reduction in the frequency of multidrug resistance, the firm said.

LaserGen raised $5 million in a Series A financing round in August.