Houston Biotech Company Secures $2.5M NIH Grant for Cell Technology Advancement


Houston-based startup CellChorus has recently been awarded a substantial $2.5 million SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to further develop its innovative cell therapy AI technology. This funding, administered through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), will support the advancement of the company’s proprietary technology, TIMING (Time-lapse Imaging Microscopy In Nanowell Grids).

The technology developed by CellChorus, a spin-off from the University of Houston’s Single Cell Research Institute, offers a unique visualization AI program that enables researchers to gain deeper insights into the functionality of cells. Specifically, TIMING allows for the observation of cell activation, destruction, and migration, providing crucial information for understanding immune cell behavior. This knowledge could have significant implications for the development of new treatments for various diseases, including cancer and infectious diseases.

According to Rebecca Berdeaux, Vice President of CellChorus, the cell therapy industry stands to benefit from an integrated analysis platform that offers detailed functional information on cellular phenotype and metabolism over time. The SBIR grant will facilitate the development of application-specific kits that enable dynamic functional single-cell analysis, ultimately enhancing the effectiveness of cell therapies and improving patient outcomes.

The funding, which includes a two-year, $2.1 million Phase II grant following the completion of certain milestones under the current $350,000 Phase I grant, aims to accelerate translational research and the manufacturing of more effective cell therapies. By developing analytics that deliver rapid, specific, and predictive results, CellChorus intends to create timing kits that can be widely manufactured and utilized by researchers.

TIMING has already garnered significant validation, with over 200 peer-reviewed papers citing its effectiveness in analyzing various cell types and treatments. The technology has been instrumental in research, clinical development, and manufacturing, supporting industry leaders in making breakthrough discoveries related to cell functionality. The new SBIR grant will enable CellChorus to expand the reach of TIMING, providing scientists with valuable insights into the intricacies of immune cell functions.

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Jai Shah
Jai Shah
Meet Jai, our knowledgeable writer and manager for the AI Technology category. With a keen eye for emerging AI trends and technological advancements, Jai explores the intersection of AI with various industries. His articles delve into the practical applications, challenges, and future potential of AI, providing valuable insights to our readers.

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