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DiamiR Lands $2.8M SBIR Grant for MicroRNA Detection in Alzheimer's

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health has awarded an approximately $2.8 million Phase IIB Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to microRNA diagnostics firm DiamiR.

The three-year grant from the National Institute on Aging will help the company develop its first test, CogniMir, CEO Kira Sheinerman said in a statement. The test is targeted at early-stage Alzheimer's disease patients.

"Our novel, blood-based diagnostic approach focuses on detecting changes in the synaptic health of the specific brain regions affected by the disease, with the goal of identifying patients earlier, preferably before they exhibit clinical symptoms, when treatment can be more effective," DiamiR CSO Samuil Umansky said in a statement.

MicroRNAs are small non-coding oligonucleotides that can modulate gene expression and protein production. They can be differentially enriched in certain brain regions or cellular structures.

Princeton, New Jersey-based DiamiR has been developing blood-based microRNA-based diagnostics with the support of NIH SBIR grants since 2013 and has received Phase I and II grants of $225,000 and $1.5 million, respectively.

Sheinerman noted that initially the test would help characterize early-stage Alzheimer's patients in clinical trials, but could one day be used more broadly to evaluate risk or to monitor disease progression.