Innovation Competition (Boston, MA)

Size-specific PCR: novel technology to drop personal genome sequencing costs.

Concept or business name.
What general market sector best fits your opportunity?
Please describe the experience and role for key members of this opportunity.
Currently, we are team of 2: (i) Oleksandr Demidenko, PhD, inventor and founder, very creative person and expert in bioengineering; (ii) Elena Alekseeva, simply the best assistant scientist we've ever seen, able to do experiments of any complexity with extraordinary quality. We also have business advisor, Gary Magnant, CEO of Sage Sciences.
Please describe the key problems your opportunity addresses, such as unmet customer needs, diseases, or other market needs.
Dropping the price of human genome sequencing to under $1000 will open a new era of personalized medicine. Genome sequencing requires preparation of uniformly sized DNA libraries. This step accounts for significant fraction of the final cost. Our size-specific PCR is a novel platform for inexpensive one-step sample preparation for genome sequencing. It will be able to generate uniformly sized pools of DNA molecules in single PCR reaction for only a fraction of time and price.
What is the size of the market opportunity addressed by your product or solution?
With about 1 billion of potential customers – population of developed countries, the market for personal genome sequencing is huge.
Describe your solution or technology and how it addresses the market needs presented above.
Our platform – size-specific PCR – is a novel technology for sample preparation for human genome sequencing. Contrary to regular PCR, which is sequence-specific, our size-specific PCR will be able to generate uniformly sized pools of DNA for only a fraction of current cost of sample preparation. Our technology is based on specially engineered DNA polymerase combined with our proprietary DNA size-controlling technology. Our technology of library preparation for genome sequencing is cheap and easy as regular PCR. No expensive equipment, no highly qualified personnel — even undergraduate student will be able to do it. Due to its easiness, our technology will become an industry standard when developed.
What is unique about your solution from the technology, intellectual property or business strategy perspectives?
It is unique - it introduces new paradigm of terminating DNA synthesis based on the length. To stop at specific place, naturally occurring or adapted in biotechnology reactions rely on the knowledge of sequence (like in PCR), or structural features (like transcription terminators), or physical end of template. In our technology, synthetic reaction is supposed to halt independently of the particular sequence, but only after certain, predefined length is synthesized or degraded. All IP is ours, we have submitted provisional patent application for that technology.
How well does your solution compete against other solutions in development and on the market?
It is much better in terms of time, labor and price. When developed, this method will become an industry standard for NestGen Sequencing sample preparation.
Describe your company funding status.
Describe the key milestones for the opportunity and the challenges and risks associated with meeting these milestones.
Within 1 year, we are going to provide the proof of principle – to develop a functional prototype of the size-specific PCR. During the years 3—4, the product will be launched and available on market. By the end of the year 5 we are expecting significant number of customers switching to our platform for sample preparation for genome sequencing.
What are your immediate needs that can be addressed by the BiotechTuesday community?
  • Funding, Corporate partnerships
  • Laboratory space
Additional details on specific immediate needs, if necessary (e.g. Amount of funds required, etc.).
For the first step - proof of principle, we need about $250-300k.