Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Cell Microsystems Continues Single-Cell RNA-Seq Development Under $1.5M NIH Grant

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Cell Microsystems said today that it has been awarded a $1.5 million SBIR grant from National Institutes of Health, under which it will continue to develop its CellRaft technology and related methods for analyzing single cells.

The Phase II funding was follows a previous Phase I grant, which ended in 2016. According to Cell Microsystems, the goal of the project is to develop a fully-integrated system capable of imaging thousands of single cells and preparing them for genomic analysis. To do this, the company plans to integrate its AIR-FLOW system and CellRaft technology with a microfluidic sample preparation method developed by Columbia University researcher Peter Sims to construct next-generation sequencing transcriptomic libraries.

Cell Microsystems said that Sims' sample preparation approach is highly complementary to its own platform because both rely on microwell arrays, fluorescence imaging, and the same biocompatible materials.

In December, the company renegotiated a previous commercialization agreement for the CellRaft technology with Qiagen. Under the original 2015 agreement, Qiagen planned to exclusively commercialize the CellRaft technology.

The renegotiation in December shifts this to a nonexclusive license, under which Qiagen will continue to manufacture and commercialize the CellRaft-based QIAscout system, while Cell Microsystems can also develop products based on the CellRaft technology.

The QIAscout system comprises five single-reservoir 12,000-microraft arrays with a microwell size of 200x200 microns, a motorized release device for a standard inverted microscope, a magnetic wand for collecting rafts released from the QIAscout Array, and a magnetic collection plate.

Cell Microsystems offers its own CellRaft system for inverted microscopes, which comprises several different formats of the CellRaft Array suitable for a range of applications, including 200x200 micron and 100x100 micron microwells.

The company said it is also developing other array products and automated systems for higher throughput isolation and recovery of single cells, and, based on the new agreement, could also offer products equivalent to Qiagen's system.

Arrays from either company are intended to be cross-compatible with release devices from the other.