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Cellecta Wins NIH SBIR Grant to Develop Guide RNA Library for CRISPR Genome Editing

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Cellecta has recently received a six-month Phase I SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a validated set of reagents for targeted CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing.

CRISPR/Cas9 involves the use of a specific enzyme to cause double-strand DNA breaks that induce gene silencing. The process can be targeted to specific areas of the genome using so-called guide RNAs.

With the $224,905 NIH grant, Cellecta aims to test 12 different guide RNA designs, using the best ones to develop a human guide RNA library targeting roughly 6,500 genes in major signal transduction pathways.

The library will be made freely available to academic and non-profit investigators through the DECIPHER Project, an industry/academia consortium developing free genomics reagents and software, the company said.

"With this project, we expect to eliminate a lot of the current guesswork required when using CRISPR to knock out genes," Cellecta researcher Donato Tedesco said in a statement. "Our project will give researchers reliable and robust reagents for genetic analysis and identification of new drug targets."