SomaGenics Awarded 2-Year NIH Grant to Develop NGS microRNA Library Technology

somagenics_logoSANTA CRUZ, Calif., April 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — SomaGenics has been awarded a two-year NIH grant to develop its novel RealSeq™–T technology for targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) of small RNAs such as microRNA.

There is increasing interest in using NGS for miRNA biomarker discovery from biofluids such as blood plasma as well as for miRNA expression profiling and diagnostic purposes. There are many advantages to using NGS, including unlimited multiplexing, high sensitivity, sequence specificity and ability to detect miRNA sequence editing.  Targeted NGS brings these advantages to the quantification of any specific group of sequences of interest.  However, sequence bias in the construction of the small RNA libraries used in sequencing has so far limited the utility of NGS, both targeted and non-targeted. This bias gives distorted small RNA profiles and renders some species of RNA that might be good biomarkers unavailable for accurate quantification.

“RealSeq–T improves the accuracy and sensitivity of targeted NGS compared to current methods and provides accurate quantification of all miRNA species of interest,” said Dr. Brian Johnston, CEO of SomaGenics.  “We are excited to pursue this technology as it should dramatically increase the utility of NGS in miRNA profiling, diagnostics, and biomarker discovery and validation.”

The new approach includes 3 key elements: minimizing sequence bias, improving consistent recovery of miRNA, and use of internal quality controls to assess dynamic range. SomaGenics’ novel approach will also dramatically increase sample throughput and reduce sequencing cost per sample.

SomaGenics is a privately held biotech company with offices and laboratories located in Santa Cruz, Calif.  It specializes in developing innovative technologies that focus on RNA molecules as therapeutic agents and targets as well as biomarkers. Besides sshRNA, miR-Direct™ and RealSeq–T, the company’s technology platforms also include miR-ID®, a novel circularization-based RT-qPCR method for small RNA detection, and mR-FQ™, a method for quantifying fragmented RNA from formaldehyde-fixed, paraffin-embedded histology specimens.

Contact: Brian Johnston, 831 426 7700, Email

SOURCE SomaGenics

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