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Oscillated Insertion Tool for Minimally Invasive, Low-Damage, Accurate Placement of Delivery Cannula to Improve Efficacy for DREADDS Therapy in Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R43AA030512-01
Agency Tracking Number: R43AA030512
Amount: $384,932.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 650
Solicitation Number: PA21-259
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-09-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-05-31
Small Business Information
Bellefonte, PA 16823-8445
United States
DUNS: 791379030
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (814) 355-0003
Business Contact
Phone: (814) 355-0003
Research Institution

This Phase I SBIR develops and tests an Oscillated Syringe for Intracranial Injections (OSII) of viral constructs
for chemogenetic studies of alcohol addiction neurocircuitry in the brain. The project’s long-term goal is to
develop and commercialize a surgical tool to enable reliable and safe injections of viral constructs into the
brain for preclinical studies, and eventually clinical therapeutic approaches. Actuated Medical, Inc. (AMI)
develops innovative motion devices incorporating electronically-controlled actuator technologies to improve
patient outcomes and advance medical research. This work is in collaboration with Drs. K. Grant and V. Cuzon
Carlson at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU).
Public Health Problem: Alcohol addiction is estimated to affect 28 million Americans over the age of 12 in
2020 – and is subject to relapse rates of 40-60% despite available pharmaceutical and psychosocial therapies.
Chemogenetic tools have significant potential to lead to translational findings in preclinical research that can
illuminate mechanisms underlying alcohol pharmacology and addiction. However, the utility of chemogenetics,
such as designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs), is limited by how well the viral
constructs can be targeted to specific brain regions, to maximize and precisely control designer receptor
expression. In a recent preclinical study targeting DREADD receptors to the nucleus accumbens, the percent
of targeted cells expressing the DREADD receptor ranged from 41-87%. This poor delivery accuracy
significantly impacted subsequent behavioral outcomes and prevented conclusive study hypothesis testing.
Solution: This project commercializes the OSII to improve targeting and viral expression in preclinical studies,
initially examining the neural circuitry underlying alcohol addiction. AMI will leverage its oscillated neural
implant insertion technology which enables low-force, low-friction insertion of probes and electrodes into the
brain. The goals for the OSII system are 1) reduce insertion force, 2) enable use of smaller and more flexible
viral injection syringes, including the potential for blunted tips, 3) reduce tissue damage, 4) reduce risk of virus
migration to other tissues along the syringe insertion track, and 5) allow insertion through the dura.
Aim 1 Demonstrate accurate placement of 25-36G micro-injection cannulas in simulated deep brain targets
using vibration with and without intact dura. Acceptance Criteria: rt70% reduction in insertion force compared
to non-vibrated insertion, and lt1 mm deviation from target path with 5 cm deep insertions using 25-36G
polyimide and metal cannulas in models. 100% insertion success through dura with 36G metal cannula. Aim 2
Demonstrate OSII improves viral vector delivery to targets with less off-target spreading and DREADD receptor
expression in preclinical model. Acceptance Criteria: Improved mean percentage (rt55%) of DREADD receptor
expression restricted to the target tissue with viral injection via OSII (as compared to previous study).

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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