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Cellecta Lands $1.8M SBIR Grant

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Contract research firm Cellecta has reeled in a $1.8 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to discover and validate gene targets that may be involved in breast cancer.

The company will use the two-year Small Business Innovation Research funding to continue to develop and use shRNA gene suppressor libraries that it developed with Phase I funding for genome-wide screening and identification of genes that are necessary for cell growth and viability in a panel of isogenic mammary epithelial cells.

Cellecta believes that these genes are strong candidates for use in new therapeutics because suppressing them causes cancer cells to die.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based firm will partner on its efforts with a researcher at The Scripps Research Institute who developed the isogenic mammary cell panel, and any candidate drug targets developed will be further validated using mice models.

"Cellecta was established expressly for the purposes of advancing drug discovery through studies and collaborations such as this one, and we are thrilled to apply our uniquely designed lentiviral-based pooled shRNA libraries for large-scale screening to pursue new cancer therapeutics," Cellecta President and CEO Alex Chenchik said in a statement.

The company offers shRNA library screening and analysis by high-throughput sequencing, pooled lentiviral shRNA libraries, and stable reporter, overexpression, or knockdown cell lines.

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