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SomaGenics secures $1.7M in funding from NIH

(Contributed)

October 6, 2016 — Santa Cruz, CA

SomaGenics has been awarded a $1.7M two-year NIH SBIR Phase II grant to further develop its RealSeq®–AC technology for next-generation sequencing (NGS) of small RNAs such as microRNA.

Real-Seq®-AC dramatically reduces bias in small RNA sequencing libraries compared to commercially available library construction methods. “Bias reduction is critical for the discovery of previously undetected RNAs and enables a more accurate analysis of small RNA abundances,” according to Dr. Sergei Kazakov, VP of Discovery Research at SomaGenics and Principal Investigator on the NIH grant.

This Phase II award allows SomaGenics to further develop the RealSeq®-AC library construction approach including streamlining the workflow, increasing library yield, and broadening its utility beyond sequencing microRNAs to include other RNA species such tRNAs, fragments of mRNAs and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs).

Additionally, the Real-Seq® platform includes a novel system for target sequencing (Real-Seq®-T) which is funded by a separate SBIR grant from NIH. Real-Seq®-T enables quantitative sequencing of specific target RNAs and is especially powerful for detecting and quantifying low-abundant RNA species.

“This additional funding will allow us to continue expanding and optimizing the RealSeq® platform, further strengthening SomaGenics’ suite of tools for small RNA discovery and validation. Besides RealSeq®, these tools also include our proprietary RT-qPCR technologies miR-ID® and miR-Direct®, which can be used to validate potential biomarkers discovered through sequencing”, commented Dr. Brian Johnston, CEO of SomaGenics.

Both miR-ID® and miR-Direct® are uniquely capable of distinguishing small RNA species that differ by even a single nucleotide, including isomiRs and isoforms.

SomaGenics is a privately held biotech company with offices and laboratories located in Santa Cruz, CA. It specializes in developing innovative technologies that focus on RNA molecules as therapeutic agents and targets as well as biomarkers. Besides the Real-Seq® kit family, the company’s detection technology platforms also include miR-ID®, a novel circularization-based RT-qPCR method for small RNA detection (specifically isomiRs and isoforms), and res-Q®, a method for quantifying fragmented RNA from formaldehyde-fixed, paraffin-embedded histology specimens. SomaGenics’s therapeutics platform includes development of targets for its proprietary small short hairpin RNA (sshRNA) in wound healing and anti-viral applications.

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