Source: © Kirsty Pargeter/Fotolia
Source: © Kirsty Pargeter/Fotolia

Transgenomic said today it has won a two-year $1.5 million Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant from the NIH toward a collaborative project with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to enhance the company’s ICE COLD-PCR™ (ICP) technology.

The STTR grant will support the addition of greater multiplexing capabilities to ICP, a technology used prior to sequencing that is intended to selectively amplify mutated DNA deemed useful for disease diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment.

“While we currently offer multiplexing capability in our ICP-powered kits and services, this grant will enable Transgenomic and Dana-Farber to accelerate development of very highly multiplexed formats for applying ICP simultaneously to hundreds or thousands of targets,” Transgenomic president and CEO Paul Kinnon said in a statement. “We expect this will pave the way for its wide adoption and use with cutting-edge high-throughput sequencing platforms and whole genome panels.”

ICP can be used with standard Sanger sequencing, next-generation sequencing, digital PCR, and other technologies.

According to Transgenomic, ICP is designed to enable detection of mutated DNA at up to a 500-fold increase in sensitivity compared to conventional approaches—ensuring that all mutations are identified, including rare mutations and new mutations previously undetected. ICP also allows DNA testing to be done using either tissue or liquid biopsy samples, including blood, plasma, and urine.

ICP was originally developed by the laboratory of G. Mike Makrigiorgos, Ph.D., at Dana-Farber, which has exclusively licensed rights to the technology to Transgenomic.

“The NIH/STTR funding will enable us to develop multiplexed formats for the COLD-PCR/ICE COLD-PCR technologies that filter out mutated DNA from within a high excess of normal DNA circulating in cancer patients’ blood,” Dr. Makrigiorgos stated. “The enhanced technology will enable multiplexed mutation enrichment, which combines well with sequencing and is key to enabling rapid and reliable mutation detection that identifies and traces mutations that may cause drug resistance, indicate remaining tumor load, or provide doctors with an early indication of relapse.”

The grant is supported by NIH’s National Cancer Institute under Award Number R42CA180389. Transgenomic won a Phase II STTR grant following successful completion of a $200,000 Phase I grant awarded to the company and Dana-Farber in 2013.

STTR is designed to promote public/private sector partnerships that include joint venture opportunities for small businesses and not-for-profit research institutions.

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