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U of Washington start-up raises $1.2 million to develop RNA sequencing technology

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 24th, 2018

A University of Washington (UW) startup has raised $1.2 million in seed funding to advance a new method of sequencing cells’ RNA, the messenger molecules that relay genetic instructions to proteins.

“In recent years, single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) has seen explosive growth, both within academia and pharmaceutical companies,” says Charlie Roco, a researcher at UW and co-founder of Split Bio. “However, despite the widespread adoption of scRNA-seq in basic research and discovery, high costs and low throughput have limited its uses for many applications.”

Roco’s company has created a faster sequencing process called SPLiT-seq. In traditional methods, all cells in a given sample, such as a biopsy of a tumor, must be physically separated before their DNA or RNA is sequenced. Split Bio’s technology sidesteps that problem.

“SPLiT-seq leverages a combinatorial barcoding scheme to perform single-cell labeling of molecules without the need for cell isolation,” says Roco. “This ultimately enables researchers to scale up in both samples and cell numbers.”

Roco and UW researcher Alex Rosenberg developed SPLiT-seq in the lab of synthetic biology professor Georg Seelig. All three are co-founders of Split Bio.

Source: GeekWire

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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