Aperiomics, Ashburn, Va, recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to support an adaptation of its technology to develop a faster and more accurate test for Lyme disease than any currently available on the market.

Titled “A Better Way to Test for Lyme Disease in Ticks from Endemic Areas,” the company’s project allowed anyone to contribute donations for any dollar amount. All donors shared every step of the research process through the crowdfunding site, getting updates on study design and project data, and being able to ask questions of the scientists. The site also had links to information about Lyme disease and bios of the scientific team.

With the funds, the company aimed to conduct a controlled proof-of-concept study of 15 deer tick samples from Loudoun County, Va, a Lyme-endemic area. Researchers plan to extract DNA from 10 tick samples and RNA from five of them. Both DNA and RNA will be sequenced on a sequencer from Illumina Inc, San Diego, to obtain a minimum of 5 million reads per sample. Investigators will then analyze the samples using novel data analysis tools for every bacterium, virus, parasite, and fungus. They seek to establish a baseline of pathogens harbored in deer ticks from an endemic area, and will then create the tools needed to detect these pathogens in human blood, saliva, and urine samples.

Crystal Icenhour, PhD, Aperiomics.

Crystal Icenhour, PhD, Aperiomics.

“We’re excited about the potential of this crowdfunding campaign, which can both raise the funding we need to move our research forward, as well as educate the public about Lyme disease and how to address it,” says Crystal Icenhour, PhD, CEO of Aperiomics. “What we are striving for is a transformation in Lyme disease testing, not just an incremental advancement.”

Aperiomics sought $14,575 to pay for sample collection, sequencing, materials, and data analysis. The company had 30 days to reach its goal; donors were not charged unless the goal is reached. Ultimately, the company reached 17% of its goal.

For more information, visit Aperiomics.