NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesse Technologies, Inc. (formerly MouSensor), a New York-headquartered biotechnology company, has been awarded a $750,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant. The two-year grant will provide funds to support Yesse Technologies' continued development of the ORion 21™ technology platform, which harnesses the biology of the nose and merges it with silicon nanotechnology to measure odor activation and create a true nose-on-a-chip, to ultimately decode the sense of smell.
Yesse Technologies addresses a long-standing problem in the field of olfaction: the fact that the proteins in our noses — called odorant receptors — that bind odors in our environment, cannot be functionally characterized outside of the nose. This is a challenge that has prevented large-scale odor profiling of these receptors. Hence, unlike vision, which has been fully digitized, olfaction remains a black box, and the power of the nose has thus far been untapped.
"Yesse Tech's breakthrough technology employs what biology has engineered for us through millions of years of evolution and produces fully functional human odorant receptors in their natural environment, the nose," said Prof. Paul Feinstein, Co-Founder and CSO of Yesse Technologies.
"The National Science Foundation supports startups and small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts," said Graciela Narcho, Acting Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. "We hope that seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology."
The company was previously awarded a $225,000 NSF SBIR Phase I grant to de-risk translation of the ORion21 biology to a functional ex vivo odor screening assay allowing one to measure smells with the precision of the (human) nose. The SBIR Phase II award will allow the company to expand the platform's applications identifying specific use-cases for commercial success in the Fragrance & Flavor industry, as well as to further optimize and streamline the full platform development. In addition, a disease diagnostics platform is being explored with continued support from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
A portion of the Phase II work will be carried out by the laboratory of Prof. Feinstein at The City University of New York's Hunter College, where the technology was invented, and after which the ORion21 platform was named, referring to the constellation Orion, The Hunter.
"We are proud to be rooted in fundamental research and are grateful for NSF's recognition of the truly disruptive potential of the ORion21 platform in decoding the last mystery of the senses," said Dr. Charlotte D'Hulst, Co-Founder and CEO of Yesse Technologies.
About Yesse Technologies
Yesse Technologies (formerly known as MouSensor) is an early-stage biotech company building a technology platform that harnesses the biology of the nose and merges it with cutting-edge nanotechnology. The company's mission is to decode the last mystery of the senses, Olfaction, and to unlock the power of a new field, Odoromics, disrupting Flavor & Fragrance R&D pipelines and enabling odor-based disease diagnostics. Yesse Technologies' core technology, the ORion21™ genetic platform, is the product of over 30 years of fundamental research on the molecular biology of the sense of smell and is exclusively licensed from The City University of New York. To fuel its chip R&D, Yesse Technologies has established a research partnership with imec (Belgium), an internationally recognized R&D powerhouse for nanochip technology. For more information, visit yesse.tech.
About the National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs
America's Seed Fund powered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.5 million in non-dilutive funds to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America's Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.1 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. To learn more about the NSF SBIR/STTR program, visit: seedfund.nsf.gov.
About The City University of New York (CUNY)
The City University of New York is the nation's leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 25 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges and additional professional schools. The University serves nearly 275,000 degree-seeking students and 218,083 adults, continuing and professional education students.
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SOURCE Yesse Technologies