Inherent Biosciences Wins $256K NSF Grant to predict COVID-19 infection severity and treatment response
By: Andy Olson
September 9, 2020
Salt Lake City, Utah (Newswire.com) — Inherent Biosciences, a biotechnology company headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT, today announced a $255,959 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study epigenetic biomarkers to predict patient response to SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) infection. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project aims to develop an onsite, clinical test to screen incoming patients potentially infected with COVID-19 and prioritize hospital resources and personnel based on a predicted infection severity and treatment response.
The variation in symptoms and outcomes for COVID-19 progression make it challenging for healthcare workers to triage patients accurately. The development of a DNA methylation-based test to predict the severity of COVID-19 infection has tremendous potential for managing current and future pandemics.
“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”
Andy Olson, Co-founder and CEO of Inherent Biosciences remarked: “We’re thrilled to announce this award, which will enable us to expand our discovery and commercialization pipeline into the area of infectious disease – a critical area as witnessed by the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.”
The award provides support for Inherent to generate a comprehensive dataset of white blood cell DNA methylation patterns, health history, and clinical data for patients infected with COVID-19. The company then uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to identify DNA methylation biomarkers predictive of disease severity and treatment response.
Kristin Brogaard, Ph.D., Co-founder and COO of the company, and Principal Investigator for the project added: “Our focus is translating epigenetic discoveries, specifically DNA methylation biomarkers, from research discoveries into commercial products that benefit consumers, patients and healthcare providers.”
Inherent has already translated one epigenetic discovery into a commercial product. The company’s first product called “Path” (PathFertility.com) is for couples trying to conceive. Path is marketed directly to consumers as a general wellness sperm DNA test related to maintaining or encouraging a general state of health, specifically male reproductive health.
About Inherent Biosciences
Inherent Biosciences, Inc. is a molecular diagnostics company at the intersection of epigenetics and AI. Inherent believes that guesswork and trial & error medicine lead to severe pain and suffering. Inherent’s vision is to revolutionize trial and error medicine and restore hope. The company does this by discovering what is inherent in our biology about the unexplained and translating discoveries into personal insights that inform actions. Learn more at www.inherentbio.com or connect on LinkedIn.