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SimBioSys Gets $2M NCI Award for Tumor Visualization, Analysis Platform

NEW YORK — SimBioSys has netted a $2 million federal research contract to support the continued development of a platform to identify new biomarkers in tumors, the precision cancer technology company announced Tuesday.

The Phase II small business innovation research contract from the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute will support the continued development of PhenoScope, SimBioSys' tumor visualization and analysis platform that brings together genomic, cellular, microscopic tissue environment, and other biological data alongside clinical outcomes. 

The Chicago-based company has already used an earlier Phase I contract to develop a cloud- and web-based prototype of PhenoScope, and under the latest contract, SimBioSys' goal is to expand access to the platform and the diverse datasets available through it. 

The firm envisions that academic and biopharma researchers will use machine learning, spatio-temporal simulation, and other algorithms offered on the platform to study tumor heterogeneity and gain insights on pharmacodynamic, prognostic, predictive, and surrogate cancer biomarkers. Research into such multi-modal biomarkers could inform drug development and help personalize drug dosing for cancer patients, according to SimBioSys.

"It's an exciting time in cancer research due to the explosion of cancer phenotyping datasets, yet the computational complexity of analyzing and connecting such data across scales is hindering progress," said Joseph Peterson, chief technology officer at SimBioSys, in a statement. "PhenoScope builds on our strong 4D tumor modeling fundamentals to further support our collaborators and researchers at earlier stages of the cancer care industry."

PhenoScope is part of TumorScope, a clinical decision-support platform that SimBioSys is developing for visualizing and predicting how a patient's tumor will respond to different drugs. TumorScope has not been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration and is currently only available for research or investigational use, according to SimBioSys' website.

SimBioSys last year raised $15 million in a Series A funding round to develop and commercialize TumorScope. The round was co-led by Genoa Ventures and Northpond Ventures, with participation from AV8 Ventures, Heritage Medical Group, and Mayo Clinic.