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Omicia Awarded SBIR Phase II NIH Grant


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Omicia, Inc. has announced that it has been awarded a $788,517 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The goal of the funded project is to refine the disease marker genome annotation system prototyped by the company during Phase I of this grant.

The declining cost of DNA sequencing and genotyping has resulted in an information-processing bottleneck that limits the potential use of this information to improve predictive and preventive medical care.

Omicia's Disease Marker Genome Annotation System overcomes a major aspect of this bottleneck by using information from databases that catalog genetic variations, such as the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) database, to computationally map clinical disease information directly onto the human genome sequence.

Omicia has already succeeded in linking more human genes to disease phenotypes than any previously published approach.

By linking the available genetic information to clinical data, Omicia's system provides an important step towards individualized healthcare.

In this project, Omicia is developing software that maps known human genetic mutations derived from the literature to the genome and associates each with a specific medical condition.

"The major problem in the newly emerging field of personalized medicine," said Chief Scientific Officer Martin Reese, Ph.D., "is not lack of data - it's too much data."

"Our Disease Marker Genome Annotation System provides a way to identify the functional inherited mutations most strongly associated with serious diseases such as atherosclerosis, so that eventually physicians will be able to detect these conditions earlier and offer better treatment options."

He added, "We are very pleased that the National Human Genome Research Institute has shown their support of our approach by awarding us this Phase II grant."

Omicia will use the Genome Annotation System to facilitate the development of diagnostic profiles for a diverse array of disease conditions.

Medical Advisory Board member Herbert Schuster, M.D., a Professor of Medicine at the Humboldt University of Berlin, affirms the importance of Omicia's work.

"Omicia's ground-breaking research offers physicians a powerful new diagnostic tool," said Dr. Schuster.

"If we can determine a patient's risk of developing a serious disease before any symptoms have been observed, we have the potential to greatly improve individual health on a patient-by-patient basis."

Researchers focusing on genetic variation studies are also excited about the integrated disease map that will be publicly released at the conclusion of this study.

Michael Ashburner, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Cambridge, UK, stated, "Linking the OMIM database of all known mutations to the genome in a meaningful way is a critical task if we are to truly understand human health and disease. Omicia is in a great position to make a major impact on this important field."

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