Israeli biotech start-up Anima Cell Metrology announced today that is has received a three year, $2 million award from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The award, under the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) of the NIST, is to further develop its technology to identify, in real time, proteins at work inside living cells. The resulting technology will enable scientists to record and interpret “the movie of life” and is expected to be used broadly in basic science research and in the discovery and development of drugs and novel medical treatments.
Anima was founded by Dr. Zeev Smilansky and Dr. Michal Preminger, two Israeli hi-tech and biotech executives, and is chaired by D-Pharm co-founder Dr. Max Hertzberg. The other company founders are Profs. Yale E. Goldman and Barry S. Cooperman, both from the University of Pennsylvania.
“Given the extremely rigorous technical peer review involved in this competition, this award represents an important validation of Anima’s technology platform,” said Dr. Zeev Smilansky, Anima CEO and Chief Scientific Officer. He continued, “The ATP funding will accelerate the development of Anima’s technology while reducing the need for diluting funding.” Anima’s initial funding has been from private investors.
The NIST Advanced Technology Program selects the most promising early stage technologies with the potential to create fundamental paradigm shifts in their respective spaces. ATP’s early stage support has dramatically accelerated the development of many innovative technologies resulting in long term commercial success and delivering far reaching societal benefits.
Anima’s technology, termed Protein Synthesis Monitoring, or PSM was invented by Dr. Zeev Smilansky. Development has been carried out in collaboration with Profs. Cooperman and Goldman at the Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, Nano/Bio Interface Center and Department of Chemistry at Penn.
When fully developed, PSM will provide researchers with better identification of molecular targets within the body and allow improved prediction of drug utility and side effects. Proteins are the cornerstones of life, carrying out most biological functions. Elucidating their dynamic behavior is a key to understanding certain diseases and to the development of new therapies. Current methods of protein analysis, however, are expensive and time-consuming. Moreover, they can only be performed after protein removal from cells, precluding the analysis of their dynamics within living cells. Anima integrates novel chemical synthesis, single-molecule biophysics, and quantitative image processing into a new way of detecting protein expression with unparalleled sensitivity in normal and diseased cells.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 11, 2007
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