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Phase Genomics Wins $1.7M NIH Grant for Virus Discovery Platform Development

NEW YORK — Phase Genomics said on Tuesday that it has been awarded a $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support its development of a platform for discovery of novel viruses that can be used to develop new therapeutics.

With the funding, Phase Genomics aims to use its sequencing-based proximity ligation, or Hi-C, technology to develop a reagent kit and accompanying analytical software for the culture-free assembly of viral genomes from metagenomic samples and associate these viruses with their microbial hosts.

Doing so will provide insights into antimicrobial resistance and help in the development of phage therapies, which use bacteriophages to treat infectious diseases, according to the Seattle-based company.

The platform is expected to be commercially available by mid-2021.

"Our new platform will offer pharmaceutical and microbiological researchers a valuable new dimension in understanding bacteriophage and their microbial hosts within complex microbial communities," Phase Genomics Cofounder and CEO Ivan Liachko said in a statement. "The application of this new platform will rapidly expand our understanding and the utility of phage on many facets of microbial biology and human health."

Phase Genomics said it has to date received $5.2 million in grants from the NIH, the US Department of Energy, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation including two NIH grants worth a combined $3.9 million that were awarded in late 2020 for research on Hi-C assays for cytogenic applications.

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