SBIR Phase I: Thermostable Reverse Transcriptases for Single Enzyme RT-PCR

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0839404
Agency Tracking Number: 0839404
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solitcitation Year: N/A
Solitcitation Topic Code: BC
Solitcitation Number: NSF 08-548
Small Business Information
Duns: 019710669
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Thomas Schoenfeld
 (608) 831-9011
Business Contact
 Thomas Schoenfeld
Title: MS
Phone: (608) 831-9011
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project proposes to improve the reliability of widely used methods for detecting and measuring trace amounts of RNA (genetic material actively made by cells and contained within certain viruses). Most current methods for detecting RNA use two different enzymes; one to convert RNA to DNA and a second to generate billions of copies by PCR amplification. This two enzyme approach has serious problems (e.g., additional manipulations, cross contamination, uneven amplification of certain genes, inaccurate amplification, and low efficiency). Alternative enzymes have been discovered and characterized at Lucigen that efficiently perform both conversion of RNA to DNA and amplification in a single reaction. However, these need to be more fully developed and characterized to replace existing methods. These candidates and others in our collection will be developed and compared to available enzymes in Phase I. Those that are superior to current enzymes will be developed for commercialization in Phase II. The broader impacts of this research include substantial cost savings in biotechnology research, increased accuracy of data, and improved reliability of diagnostic tests. Nearly $1 billion is spent annually on detecting RNA targets, and this amount is growing rapidly. This type of research is strictly dependent on the available enzymes and is compromised by their deficiencies. Improved enzymes to be developed in this SBIR project promise to greatly improve basic research, diagnostics, and drug development, and will have an important impact on human health, agriculture, and research in microbial diversity.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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