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NIH Awards Johns Hopkins Spinout Circulomics $800K for MicroRNA Tech Development

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – MicroRNA test development firm Circulomics said today it has been awarded two National Institutes of Health grants totaling $800,000 to develop its technology.

The Small Business Innovative Research Phase I awards will go toward the development of Circulomics' Ligo-miR microRNA assay technology and PicoSep single-molecule analysis platform.

The awards were made through NIH's SHIFT initiative to support the commercialization of academic discoveries.

Ligo-miR microRNA profiling technology uses PCR-free, ligation-based multiplexing for the expression profiling of between 10 and 100 microRNA in one streamlined assay, Circulomics said. The technology fits within conventional research workflows, unlike other competing multiplex assay technologies requiring complex assay protocols and expensive detection platforms, the company added.

PicoSep uses micro/nano-microfluidics and single-molecule technology for molecular analysis using as little as five picoliters of sample and less than 100 DNA molecules. The system allows for sensitivity similar to PCR technology but with near-zero sample consumption and less complexity than existing technologies, according to Circulomics.

In addition to the SBIR grants, the Johns Hopkins University spinout received $75,000 from Maryland Technology Development Corporation to develop its first commercial product based on the Ligo-miR technology called Ligo-miR EZ for cancer research. The kit contains all probes, reagents, and buffers for performing 30-plex miRNA profiling on 50 samples. The kit is anticipated to launch in early 2014.

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