Aperiomics has received a Phase IB grant from the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The company, which specializes in combining genomics and informatics to improve pathogen diagnostic testing, has received $180,00 from the SBIR program to date. Directed by Eduardo Castro-Nallar, PhD, Aperiomics chief science officer, the latest project is titled “Rapid Pathogen Diagnostics and Biosurveillance Using Multiplexed High-Throughput Sequencing.”

Founded in October 2013 and based in Ashburn, Va, Aperiomics has developed a technology using high-throughput next-generation sequencing and Bayesian statistics to enable simultaneous testing for any type of pathogen, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. The technology produces faster and more accurate results than culture-based or other molecular-based diagnostic approaches and can test tissue, blood, plant, animal, or environmental samples.


Crystal R. Icenhour, PhD

“The majority of pathogens are currently never identified,” says Crystal Icenhour, PhD, Aperiomics CEO. “Thus, the advantages of accurate determination can be measured by improvements in human health, significant healthcare cost savings, and reduced risk to public health.” The Aperiomics platform can be used to provide diagnoses in difficult cases of unknown etiology, pathogen surveillance, and monitoring of natural animal populations, as well as more-routine pathogen detection. Its potential applications include healthcare, agriculture, and industrial uses.

Designed to make entrepreneurial science programs more attractive to potential investors, the SBIR program offers short-term feasibility grants of $150,000 to $225,000 to fund early-stage research and development. Additional Phase II grants support companies in their efforts to scale and bring technology to market with longer-term grants up to $750,000. Aperiomics plans to submit a Phase II grant proposal in the next funding cycle.

“One of the added benefits to receiving this money is the ‘NSF seal of approval’ that can have a positive influence on strategic partners and investors,” says Icenhour. “The grant also qualifies us for additional matching funds from the state of Virginia and the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corp.”

The Virginia General Assembly established the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corp in 2013 to accelerate translational research by facilitating collaborations between Virginia research universities and industry. Funding prioritizes the areas of bioinformatics and medical informatics, point-of-care diagnostics, and drug discovery and delivery.

Aperiomics announced the launch of its first commercial services in November 2014. To date, the firm has received grants from the National Science Foundation’s SBIR and iCORP programs and a Virginia Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund award from the Center for Innovative Technologies, Herndon, Va. The company is seeking private funding to expand operations and service capacity.

For more information, visit Aperiomics.