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Aurum Ventures Invests $1.2M in Hebrew U's Yissum for Circulating DNA Test Development

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Yissum Research Development Company said today that it has received a $1.2 million investment from Aurum Ventures MKI to support its development of circulating cell-free DNA-based diagnostics for a variety of diseases.

The method Yissum plans to advance is based on the detection of methylation markers in circulating DNA, which can serve as biomarkers for specific disease states in the body.

A Hebrew University research team led by Yuval Dor published results from early experiments with the method in PNAS this March. In their proof-of-principle, Dor and his colleagues showed that they could identify methylation patterns specific to pancreatic and brain tissues, and uncover cell-free DNAs harboring those patterns in patients with diseases affecting those tissues, such as type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

The company said it plans to share further information on the the novel technology behind these assays during the IATI-BIOMED 2016 Conference this week in Tel Aviv.

In a statement, Yissum CEO Yaacov Michlin said the capital from Aurum Ventures will be used "with a first priority to neurodegenerative, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, as well as for developing the invention into a novel blood test for the early detection of multiple diseases at their asymptomatic stage."