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Sage Science Wins $1.8M NIH Grant for CRISPR/Cas9 DNA Prep for Long-Read Sequencing

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Sage Science has been awarded a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop its DNA preparation technology for targeted long-read sequencing using CRISPR/Cas9, the company said today.

The two-year grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute will fund development and commercialization of an automated version of the firm's HLS-Catch method, which uses electrophoresis to extract DNA from cells into a gel matrix, where Cas9 nuclease and guide RNAs cleave the molecules at specific sites into 100 kb- to 1 Mb-long fragments. HLS-Catch is currently available as a manual process with the SageHLS system.

"This NHGRI award underscores the need for innovative approaches for targeted capture of large genomic regions, and we are eager to address that with the development of an automated process for the HLS-CATCH method," Sage CEO Todd Barbera said in a statement. "Using Cas9 to cut at specific sequences provides the flexibility to home in on the remaining dark areas of the genome, many of which are associated with disease. We believe that we can provide a cost-effective DNA sequencing strategy to study genes that cannot be analyzed by current target enrichment methods or by whole genome sequencing."

Sage Science, based in Beverly, Massachusetts, had previously received $191,535 from the NHGRI to develop CRISPR/Cas9-based targeted sample prep. That Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Grant expired in April, according to the NIH database.