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SomaGenics awarded $270K NIH funding to develop novel cell-free-DNA liquid biopsy platform

(Contributed)

May 25, 2017 — Santa Cruz, CA

SomaGenics announced the receipt of a $270K Phase I SBIR grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute to support extension of its RealSeq® platform to the sequence analysis of highly fragmented cell-free DNA (cf-DNA). The original version of this platform technology, RealSeq®-AC, allows construction of unbiased libraries for next-generation sequencing of small RNAs (such as microRNAs) and short fragments of large RNAs. The new grant, entitled Advanced method for preparing cell-free (cf) DNA sequencing libraries, will support development of the DNA version, called RealSeq®-DC, and demonstration of its expected superiority over currently available methods for fragmented DNA-seq library preparation.

cf-DNAs that are found in blood and other body fluids represent promising biomarkers that can be accessed through minimally invasive procedures (“liquid biopsies”), and could facilitate diagnosis of various conditions, potentially including fetal genetic disorders.

“Because cancer-derived cf-DNAs are highly fragmented and nicked DNA molecules, they are not efficiently captured by current DNA-seq library construction methods,” according to Sergei Kazakov, Ph.D., Principal Investigator and VP of Discovery Research at SomaGenics. “The RealSeq®-DC technology is well- suited to sequencing cancer-specific single-stranded DNA fragments that are less than 100 nucleotides in length with high sensitivity and accuracy. We expect it to become a critical platform for identifying cf-DNA biomarkers for cancer.”

SomaGenics is a privately held biotech company with offices and laboratories located in Santa Cruz, Calif. The Company specializes in developing innovative technologies that focus on RNA molecules as therapeutic agents and targets as well as biomarkers. SomaGenics’ therapeutic platform includes sshRNA® therapeutic candidates for viral hepatitis and wound healing. The Company’s RNA analysis platforms include miR-ID®, a novel circularization-based RT-qPCR method, miR- Direct® for microRNA analysis directly from biofluids, and the RealSeq® family of technologies for non-biased small RNA library construction for next-generation sequencing.

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