Houston-based single-cell analysis company CellChorus announced on Wednesday that it has been awarded a $2.2 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Fast-Track grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).
The grant will be used to accelerate the development of CellChorus’ Time-lapse Imaging Microscopy in Nanowell Grids (TIMING) platform for single-cell analysis, the company said in a statement.
The fast-track grant covers both Phase I and Phase II applications, minimizing any funding gap between the phases. Once CellChorus reaches its milestones under the $324,000 Phase I grant, the $1.9 million Phase II grant will become active.
The TIMING platform provides high-throughput analysis of individual cell–cell interactions using visual artificial intelligence (AI). TIMING helps quantify "how immune cells move, interact, kill, survive, and secrete biomolecules at single-cell resolution," CellChorus said in a statement, allowing researchers to identify cells of interest for further evaluation.
By providing more comprehensive insights into the behavior of immune cells, the TIMING platform could potentially accelerate the development, manufacturing, and delivery of new therapies more quickly, efficiently, and at lower expense, the company added.
“This funding will support development of a product offering that builds on the success of our early access laboratory,” said Dr. Laurence Cooper, PhD, co-founder of CellChorus. “As the next frontier of cellular analysis, dynamic single-cell analysis will increase the impact that immunotherapies have in improving the lives of patients.”
Access to the TIMING platform, which can be used for a broad range of cell types and applications, is offered by the company through a commercial service.
In addition to the NIGMS grant, CellChorus also announced on Wednesday that it has received a Phase I National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR grant for $274,000.
The funds from this grant will be used to develop novel microscale arrays for the TIMING platform in order to support scaling the platform, CellChorus said. Furthermore, the firm noted, an NSF Phase I SBIR grantee is eligible to apply for Phase II funding with supplemental grants totaling up to $2 million.