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NCI Awards Empire Genomics SBIR Grant to Develop Companion Dx for Multiple Myeloma

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Empire Genomics today announced it has received a Phase I SBIR grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop a genomic companion diagnostic test for multiple myeloma.

It is the first SBIR grant for Buffalo, NY-based Empire. The firm plans to use the funds to further develop its licensed technology for use in predicting multiple myeloma patient response to therapeutic treatments.

The grant lasts through October. According to the National Institutes of Health's grants database, the grant is for $142,432.

In its grant application, Empire Genomics said it discovered a genetic mutation associated with response to the drug bortezomib (Velcade), which potentially could be used by physicians to guide treatment and to stratify patients in clinical trials for next-generation proteasome inhibitors.

"The goals of this Phase I proposal are to optimize the test using samples already examined by our academic collaborator and develop positive and negative controls for this assay," according to an abstract of the company's grant proposal on the NIH database website. "We also propose to sequence the region involved in this translocation to better understand the disease."

Empire Genomics last week announced a licensing deal with Cornell University for a biomarker for diagnosing and determining an appropriate treatment for patients with neuroendocrine prostate cancer.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.