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PCR-free, Sequence-specific Nucleic Acid Detection

  • Project Leaders: Andre Marziali
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $572208
  • Program/Competition: Strategic Opportunities Fund
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Status: Closed

Nucleic acid diagnostics hold tremendous promise for clinical application that remains largely unfulfilled by the complexity, cost, and unreliability of PCR based detection methods in clinical samples such as blood. The UBC Applied Biophysics Laboratory (ABL) has developed a novel and highly successful technology for nucleic acid extraction from difficult samples, named SCODA. This technology has been shown to be 100-1000 fold better than standard methods at rejecting contaminants in environmental samples, and has been licensed into Boreal Genomics, a UBC spin-off company. This project will seek to further a related sequence-specific variant of SCODA to develop new detection systems for identification of infectious agents directly from biological samples, potentially allowing point of care diagnostics with an easy to use and portable device. Boreal Genomics raised a total of $6.9 million of follow-on funding from both US and Canadian venture capital groups, as well as expanded its business operations and opened an office in Los Altos, CA, which has increased BC’s and Canada’s presence in the Silicon Valley.