SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Early-stage biotech company GigaGen has received more than $1 million in grants to develop and validate technology that will help predict the occurrence and severity of immune flares in transplant recipients and people with autoimmune disease.
Physicians lack methods to affordably identify and track the specific immune cells that cause immune-related disorders, partly because the genetic identities of these cells vary among patients. Using microfluidics, next-generation sequencing, GigaGen's proprietary Cell-Seq™ technology will be the first to enable physicians to monitor a patient's disease-specific immune activity and guide personalized care to prevent and treat immune flares.
Three of the grants, which were awarded by the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, will support development, validation, and characterization of Cell-Seq™, which can measure genotype and expression of dozens of target genes across millions of single cells. A fourth grant will support development of web-based tools for processing, analysis, and visualization of Cell-Seq™ data.
"We were thrilled to win over $1 million in federal support in this highly competitive climate," said David Johnson, Ph.D., Principal Investigator on the four grants and GigaGen's CEO and Co-Founder. "These grants are decisive validation of our technology and its clinical applications."
Ted Snelgrove, who was recently appointed to GigaGen's Board of Directors, said, "GigaGen's technology will significantly reduce morbidity and mortality associated with a broad spectrum of immune-related diseases." Mr. Snelgrove is Chief Commercial Officer at Crescendo Bioscience and was formerly Vice President, Sales & Marketing at Genomic Health.
Disorders of the immune system affect more than 1% of all Americans, decreasing quality of life, shortening life spans, and burdening the healthcare system. As new therapies emerge to modulate these diseases, physicians need ways to monitor disease activity.
GigaGen expects to launch its first clinical test in 2013 at leading academic medical centers.
GigaGen is a diverse team of clinicians, bioinformaticians, microfluidics engineers, molecular biologists, and diagnostics experts. GigaGen has received venture funding from Sequoia Capital, Claremont Creek Ventures, and the CEO of a Silicon Valley genetics company. GigaGen's first customers are clinical researchers at leading academic institutions and biotechnology companies working to understand immune indications.
SOURCE GigaGen, Inc.