Phase II Award will fund development of novel microfluidic platform for Aptamer discovery
Westlake Village, CA - July 31, 2012 - Cynvenio Biosystems, Inc., a developer of rare cell isolation systems for biomedical research, personalized medicine and molecular diagnosis of cancer, today announced that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded the company a $1.4 million Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract to partially fund the development and commercialization of a novel microfluidic technology for scaled-up production of aptamers for use as specific binding agents.
Aptamers are nucleic acid-based affinity reagents that can be selected in vitro from large combinatorial libraries. As an affinity reagent they have inherent advantages as they are chemically synthesized, thermally stable, immunologically neutral, significantly cheaper than monoclonal antibody reagents and can be evolved for both specificity and affinity. Conversely, the process to generate useful aptamer reagents is lengthy, requiring significant experience and time to generate a useful reagent - frequently several months for 8-15 rounds of library selection. Therefore, despite the promise of aptamer technology and the notable success of aptamer therapeutics in the short time the technology has been available, the threshold for entry into this field is inhibited by this labor-intensive process and mixed success.
Cynvenio’s successful completion of its NCI Phase I contract awarded last year demonstrated the feasibility of the company’s aptamer selection technology and protocols. Building on this success, this new Phase II award will also leverage Cynvenio’s proven capability in other rare event capture applications - including the isolation of circulating tumor cells from the whole blood of cancer patients - to develop a commercial-grade microfluidic aptamer discovery platform. The goal of this contract is to enable a new class of aptamer-based affinity reagents that are chemically synthesized, thermally stable, and can be evolved for affinity as well as specificity.
“Diagnostic and prognostic applications are wholly dependent on the efficacy of commercially sourced monoclonal antibodies,” said Andre’ de Fusco, Cynvenio’s CEO. “There is an urgent need for technology that can identify and isolate high affinity reagents quickly, reproducibly, and inexpensively. We believe Cynvenio’s microfluidic aptamer discovery platform will significantly impact many areas of biotechnology, especially in proteomics and in vitro diagnostics, where the demand for thermally stable, low cost reagents are evident.”
About Cynvenio Biosystems, Inc.
Cynvenio Biosystems, Inc. has developed the LiquidBiopsy™ platform, a high performance rare cell isolation technology for biomedical research and novel cancer diagnostics. Designed to enable the mutational profiling of cancer via next generation sequencing, LiquidBiopsy™ is a key enabling technology to realize the promise of personalized medicine. Cynvenio’s mission is to deliver the tools for the early detection of disease, real time patient monitoring by means of a simple blood draw, and the selection of genetically matched therapeutic solutions. Cynvenio is based in Westlake Village, California and is privately held. Find out more about the company here: www.cynvenio.com and www.liquidbiopsy.com.