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Lucigen Wins Two SBIR Grants Worth $350K for RNA-seq, Enzyme Selection Tools


This story was originally published Oct. 17.

Lucigen said last week that it has won two phase I Small Business Innovation Research grants from the National Human Genome Research Institute, totaling $350,000.

Under the first grant, worth $150,000, the Middleton, Wis.-based firm plans to develop improved transcriptome sequencing tools.

According to the NIH grant database, Lucigen plans to employ an enzyme called PyroScript RT that promises to improve the accuracy of RNA sequence analysis by two orders of magnitude compared to conventional enzymes, as well as to reduce the frequency of rearrangements and bias due to secondary structures. Using that enzyme, the firm wants to develop a simple protocol for cDNA library synthesis that can be used with "all major" next-gen sequencing platforms.

The second grant, worth about $200,000, provides funding for Lucigen, in partnership with Auburn University, to develop an "affordable, simple tool for correlating genomic and proteomic data from individual cells using droplet-based microfluidic technology."

Lucigen plans to use the system to develop new enzymes for the amplification of very large DNA molecules. According to the NIH grant database, Lucigen wants to use the device to discover novel thermostable viral replisomes, which it will optimize through directed evolution to perform 100-kilobase PCR with cellular replication-like fidelity.