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Startup Coral Genomics Wins $2M SBIR Grant From NIH

NEW YORK – Coral Genomics, a startup aiming to expand the clinical utility of genomics for diverse populations through diagnostics, said on Tuesday that it has won a $2 million Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The Phase II award, from the National Human Genome Research Institute, will fund a study to apply the firm's low-depth next-generation sequencing method to aid therapy selection for patients with inflammatory bowel disease. The firm will use low-coverage whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing driven by its new sample pooling approach, which it says can reduce sequencing costs by 50 percent.

Coral will process patient samples at its lab, which recently received CLIA certification, the firm said in a statement, adding that initial results from the two-year study will be available at the end of this year.

The new funding follows a Phase I SBIR award last year that focused on library preparation strategies. Since then, Coral has added functional assays to improve drug selection predictions across age, gender, and race.

Based in San Francisco and founded in 2018, Coral is generating new data sets to supplement large-scale biobank data and using that information to develop diagnostics used in therapy selection. The firm integrates molecular, functional, and clinical factors.

According to the grant abstract, Coral has developed "a new sample pooling approach capable of sequencing hundreds of samples with less than one week of wait time" and a "real-time analysis platform capable of returning variant calls within two hours of sequencing completion."

Coral Genomics has received funding from Soma Capital, Baidu Ventures, and Hemisphere Ventures, according to those investors' websites.