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Firefly Nets $2M NCI SBIR Grant for MiRNA Assay Development

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Cancer Institute has awarded Firefly BioWorks a $2 million grant to further develop its microRNA assay, the Cambridge, Mass.-based company said Friday.

Firefly will use the Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant to expand production capacity and validate its assay against the current state of the art, it said, adding that it ultimately hopes to develop a product "providing a combination of performance, throughput, and cost not available from existing solutions."

Firefly's core technology was developed in the laboratory of Patrick Doyle in the chemical engineering department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Doyle is a co-founder of Firefly and chairs the company's scientific advisory board.

The company said that it is introducing an open platform that will allow industrial, academic, and clinical researchers to develop and use multiplexed biological assays on standard laboratory instruments. The initial products will consist of encoded hygrogel microparticles that can be read on standard flow cytometers, microarray readers, and fluorescence microscopes.