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IDT Wins SBIR Award for Gene Silencing Tech

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Nucleic acids provider Integrated DNA Technologies said today that it has received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant to continue developing a gene silencing technology project it is developing with a start-up firm called SilaGene.

The new technology uses U1 adapters to down-regulate gene expression at the pre-mRNA stage, which could be used as a method of gene silencing in potential therapeutic technologies.

As GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication RNAi News reported in 2009, IDT received a one-year $170,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health two years ago to develop the U1 adapter technology, and later it received a $100,000 extension to continue the project.

"We believe that [the U1 technology] will make a significant addition to the gene silencing toolkit and may even aid emerging oligonucleotide-based therapies," IDT's Chief Scientific Officer Mark Behlke said in a statement.

"The novel mechanism utilized by the U1 adapters enable it to be used additively with existing gene technologies, or individually to target genes that have not responded well to RNAi-based techniques," the company said.

In 2009, Behlke and Rutgers University researchers Sam Grunderson, an associate professor of biochemistry who initially developed the new technology, and Grunderson lab member Rafal Goraczniak, described the U1 adaptors in a paper in Nature Biotechnology.

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