NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – RNAi research firm Advirna this month secured a six-month, $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a novel line of tools based on the gene-silencing technology.
According to the company, which currently markets a line of siRNAs that do not require transfection reagents or delivery vehicles for research applications, the use of existing RNAi technologies for the study of genes in mammalian cells continues to be hampered by off-target effects and high costs.
Advirna aims to develop a line of long dsRNAs with modifications that keep their potent gene-silencing capabilities but prevents the immune responses that mammalian cells typically exhibit in response to such molecules.
"This will be accomplished by incorporating a number of modified nucleotides into dsRNA and then testing them for gene silencing potency … specificity, and toxicity in mammalian cell culture," Advirna Co-founder and CEO Alexey Wolfson wrote in the grant's abstract.
"RNAi reagents based on long dsRNAs are expected to have higher potency and specificity compared to standard siRNA-based reagents, and provide a simpler and more cost effective way of handling RNAi libraries for functional genomic screening," the abstract adds.