Cell Microsystems Receives New NIH Grants for Automating CRISPR WorkflowsApril 23, 2019
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cell Microsystems, a provider of innovative tools for single cell
research, announced today it has received two NIH Small Business
Innovation and Research awards totaling $1.9M to automate CRISPR
workflows using its proprietary CellRaft Technology.
Nick Trotta, PhD, Director of Genomics Programs, described the awards
saying, “These grants will accelerate our on-going work toward
automating CRISPR workflows using the CellRaft AIR™ System that will
provide a more efficient alternative to other cloning and sorting
Cell Microsystems’ CellRaft AIR™ System is an automated platform
employing an integrated fluorescent microscope to image, sort, and
isolate cells or small clonal colonies cultured on the CytoSort™ Array.
Culturing viable, single cells after applying guide RNAs, then tracking
clonal colony formation and other phenotypes for screening, gives the
System tremendous value in CRISPR workflows.
Under a Phase II grant the Company will collaborate with two
investigators to validate the AIR™ System in core laboratories: William
Marzluff, PhD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and
Mike McConnell, PhD, of the University of Virginia. Dr. Marzluff said,
“The AIR™ System helps us identify a much larger number of viable clones
for generating knockout cell lines, and large numbers of cloned cells
can be identified and expanded much faster than with other approaches.”
Dr. McConnell’s laboratory will use the System to run a pooled CRISPR
screen with time-course imaging. “With the AIR System now in the stem
cell core, we can use it for some of the CellRaft applications we’ve
already published in single cell and single nucleus sequencing, but we
are doing a lot of CRISPR work with it now too. It’s an easy way to
track cells for your phenotype of interest, keep them alive, and then
collect the cells you want for downstream molecular analysis,” Dr.
In a separate Phase I grant, the Company will collaborate with William
Buchser, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis to develop pooled
CRISPR-mediated genome editing. “The AIR System gives us a great way to
edit phenotypically interesting cells and track them for subtle
functional changes we can only see under optimized culture conditions.
We ran a few proof-of-concept studies with the System and it is going to
be an excellent platform for functional genomics experiments.”
The Company also announced a new software release for the AIR™ System
and a new HexaQuad™ Array. The new software automates cloning workflows
using brightfield imaging to eliminate the need for fluorescent markers
for sorting and confluency measurement. Another new feature automates
cell sorting based on fluorescent signal intensities to characterize
complex phenotypes. James Kane, Director of Sales, said, “The
improvement of the fluorescent intensity and brightfield algorithms will
empower our customers to monitor single cell culture and isolate clones
at the ideal timepoint.” The HexaQuad Array is designed to run 24
distinct experiments simultaneously on a single consumable. Kane added,
“The HexaQuad is uniquely suited to labs who perform high-throughput
CRISPR editing in single guide or guide pools, scaling to hundreds of
clones per week, and significantly reducing a laborious two-month
workflow. This new array coupled with new software provides a five-day
workflow at higher fidelity and lower cost than traditional methods.”
Cell Microsystems has received federal research awards for areas in
addition to CRISPR workflows, including single cell genomics, HIV
latency reversal, cancer immunotherapy, and high-resolution imaging.
Gary Pace, CEO, said, “The support from NIH has been invaluable to our
development of innovative applications, resulting in rapid adoption of
our products by individual PIs, core labs, and pharma companies.”
The company will present data using the AIR System for CRISPR
applications at several upcoming conferences, including CYTO, ISSCR, and
the CSHL Genome Engineering meeting.
About Cell Microsystems
Cell Microsystems is an early growth stage company that develops,
manufactures, and markets innovative products for single cell research.
The Company’s proprietary CellRaft™ Technology enables high-efficiency
sorting and isolation of single cells under standard culture conditions
resulting in unperturbed phenotypes and high viability even with small,
precious samples. For more information, visit: https://cellmicrosystems.com/.