PNA Innovations Inc. receives funding from the National Institutes of Health’s SBIR program.

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PNA Innovations recently received a grant for $540,000 from the NIH SBIR program to develop a new class of fluorescent in situ hybridization probes for telomere analysis. The technology is based on work done in the laboratories of Bruce Armitage (Carnegie Mellon University) and Patty Opresko (University of Pittsburgh) and was funded under the NIH’s “Lab to Marketplace: Tools for Biomedical and Behavioral Research” initiative. The probes will be based on gammaPNA, an analogue of peptide nucleic acid that exhibits superior affinity and solubility. The higher affinity of γPNA allows shorter “miniprobes” to be used. The ability to hybridize shorter probes means that more probes can hybridize to a given telomere, resulting in brighter fluorescence. This will significantly improve the analysis of critically short telomeres, which are correlated with a variety of aging-related diseases, cancer and other conditions. The miniprobes will be synthesized at PNA Innovations Inc, then tested at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Optimized miniprobes will then be delivered to beta testing laboratories for independent testing and feedback.