Transgenomic, a global biotechnology company advancing precision medicine through advanced diagnostic tests and clinical and research services, has announced that it has been awarded a two-year Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). The $1.5 million grant will fund a collaborative project with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to augment the multiplexing capabilities of Transgenomic’s ICE COLD-PCR™ (ICP) technology. ICE COLD-PCR was originally developed by Dana-Farber, which has licensed exclusive worldwide rights to Transgenomic.
“We are delighted that the NIH has recognized the value of our validated ICE COLD-PCR as an important enabling technology for precision medicine by awarding this STTR Phase II grant to Transgenomic,” notes Paul Kinnon, President and CEO of Transgenomic. “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. We expect this will pave the way for its wide adoption and use with cutting-edge high throughput sequencing platforms and whole genome panels. We believe that ICE COLD-PCR is a powerful enabling technology that has the potential to transform precision medicine into a practical part of routine medical care, and look forward to working with our colleagues at Dana-Farber to incorporate these significantly enhanced multiplexing capabilities into the technology.”
Mike Makrigiorgos, Professor of Radiation Oncology at Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School, and principal investigator on the project for Dana-Farber, says: “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. 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 STTR program is designed to promote public/private sector partnerships that include joint venture opportunities for small businesses and not-for-profit research institutions. This new Phase II STTR grant follows successful completion of a Phase I ICE COLD-PCR grant awarded to Transgenomic and Dana-Farber in 2013.
ICE COLD-PCR is an enrichment technology used prior to sequencing that enhances DNA analyses by selectively amplifying only the mutated DNA that is useful for disease diagnosis, monitoring and treatment. ICP makes possible the detection of mutated DNA at very high sensitivity—up to a 500-fold increase in sensitivity compared to conventional approaches. The technology ensures that all mutations are identified, including rare mutations and new mutations that have not previously been detected. The ultra-high sensitivity of ICP also allows DNA testing to be done using either tissue or liquid biopsy samples, including blood, plasma and urine. ICP is easily integrated into current laboratory workflows and can be used with standard Sanger sequencing, next generation sequencing, digital PCR and other technologies.
ICE COLD-PCR was originally developed by the laboratory of Dr. Mike Makrigiorgos at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which has exclusively licensed rights to the technology to Transgenomic.