NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Cofactor Genomics has recently received a $1.5 million Phase II SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health to further develop a circular RNA enrichment technology.
Circular RNA is noncoding, present in the cytoplasm, plays a role in neuronal development, and can serve as a biomarker for psychiatric disorders, according to Cofactor. In addition, circRNAs are present in lower abundance than other RNA molecules, and share sequence homology with mRNA, so they are difficult to isolate from total RNA.
With a previously awarded Phase I grant, the company said it demonstrated its technology could enrich for circRNAs from multiple sample types. With the latest funding, it plans to optimize the technology, particularly in brain tissue, and develop companion data-analysis software.
Cofactor also plants to use the Phase II grant money to support an ongoing early-access program for a standardized circRNA enrichment kit as it lays the groundwork for commercialization, according to its grant abstract.