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Circulomics Wins $1.5M Phase II SBIR Grant for DNA/RNA Extraction Tech

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Circulomics today announced a $1.5 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to create nucleic acid extraction products based on its Nanobind technology.

The firm said in a statement that it would use the grant to develop Nanobind technologies for automated and microvolume clinical sample preparation. It is building a pipeline of chemistries to extract DNA and RNA from sample types including cultured cells, blood, and other fluids, and from pathogens.

Nanobind is a silica nanomaterial that can be used to extract high molecular weight DNA and RNA, and was developed with the support of a Phase I SBIR grant awarded in April 2014.

Circulomics said in a statement that Nanobind does not shear DNA, as magnetic beads and spin columns do, and it takes only 1 hour to bind, wash, and elute the nucleic acids. The technology can capture more DNA than existing silica technologies, its non-porous structure enables efficient extraction of microvolume samples without the aid of carrier RNA, and it is compatible with existing automated instruments and analysis workflows.

"No existing method can extract such high-quality and high-purity DNA in such a short amount of time," Circulomics CEO Kelvin Liu said. "This method could significantly improve the quality of long-read sequencing data as well as simplify workflow in other methods requiring long DNA such as genome mapping."

Baltimore-based Circulomics was spun out of Johns Hopkins University. A separate Phase I SBIR grant awarded in September 2014 funded development of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sample preparation. In May, the firm announced a Phase II SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop microRNA-profiling technologies.