BellBrook Labs has been awarded an $860,000 Phase II SBIR grant from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences to develop an innovative methyltransferase assay for epigenetic drug discovery. The company’s scientists engineered a fluorescent light switch into a bacterial metabolite sensor to leap-frog the limitations of conventional reagents.
Madison, WI – August 31, 2016 – The National Institutes of General Medical Sciences (NGMS) has awarded a Phase II $860,000 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant to BellBrook Labs, LLC for the commercialization of an innovative high-throughput screening (HTS) assay for histone methyltransferases. The AptaFluor™ Methyltransferase Assay overcomes the limitations of existing detection technologies by using a microbial sensor, or “riboswitch,” to transduce methyltransferase enzyme activity into a fluorescent signal.
The chemical modification of gene expression known as epigenetics has become a promising area for new drug discovery. Methyltransferases are the largest class of epigenetic enzymes, and many researchers are attempting to develop drugs that impede their pathogenic activities. While there is great potential to treat disease, methyltransferases have proven difficult to work with. BellBrook Lab’s aim is to commercialize an automated, high throughput screening platform for methyltransferases to be used for industrial drug discovery.
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Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44GM109621. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.