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South Carolina-based IMCS Awarded NIH Research Grant

IRMO, S.C.  — January 26, 2021 — Integrated Micro-Chromatography Systems, Inc. (IMCS), known for their expertise in developing recombinant proteins and enzymes, has been awarded a $900,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Fast-Track grant from the National Institutes of Health (Developing Chemoenzymatic Strategies, Enzymes, and Kits for Accessible and Affordable Gangliosides).

Under this grant, IMCS expands enzymes, reagents, and methods for animal component-free manufacturing of various gangliosides. This award funds research into the production of affordable gangliosides and kits that will enable researchers to establish the potential of ganglioside-based diagnostics and therapeutic interventions. The grant will be headed by L. Andrew Lee, Ph.D., co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of IMCS in conjunction with Xi Chen, Ph.D., Professor at the Department of Chemistry, University of California, Davis.

Gangliosides are biomolecules that contain sugars and a particular type of lipids, or ceramides. Analogous to biological antennae in cells, gangliosides are involved in critical roles across multiple biological processes, making them ideal for therapeutic applications. With this research grant, IMCS will provide the broader scientific community access to affordable reagents and tools to synthesize and modify various gangliosides, thereby enabling researchers to understand how these biomolecules affect neurological functions.

Ronald Schnaar, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine likened the grant’s approach to building Legos. Schnaar, who is not involved in the grant, said that the technology presented features a very flexible system that would allow scientists to use molecular building blocks called glycans, to create a library of various gangliosides that could be used for a wide variety of research applications. “If you give us the pieces to build the Lego [structure], we can generate the tools to study anything from cell activity to testing potential therapeutics. You can use this to build anything. You can build a mimetic library.”

In addition to its portfolio of enzymes, IMCS provides technologies to pharmaceutical companies, academic medical centers, and contract research organizations to develop next-generation antibody and gene therapy technologies, such as those used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research reported in this press release was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44GM139441. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

About IMCS

Integrated Micro-Chromatography Systems, Inc (IMCS) is a privately held biotechnology company that strives to address the growing needs of clinical and research laboratories through innovative technologies and custom solutions designed to increase testing efficiency. IMCS creates, manufactures, and distributes next-generation biotechnology products to clinical and forensic toxicology, academic research facilities, US Federal Government agencies, and health science companies in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific Region.

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Tamia Sumpter

Tamia is a driven senior undergraduate Bioengineering student currently enrolled at Clemson University. With a strong foundation in her field, she has honed her skills through hands-on experience in research and development at Eli Lilly & Company. During her time in the ADME department, Tamia contributed significantly by working on siRNAs and their applications in finding In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation (IVIVC). Looking ahead, Tamia has set her sights on a promising career in law. She aspires to specialize in Intellectual Property Law, with a particular focus on serving as in-house counsel for leading medical device or pharmaceutical companies. Her enthusiasm for this role is palpable as she prepares to embark on her legal journey! She is also a proud member of the Omicron Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PEER Mentor for Clemson PEER/WiSE, and currently serves as the President of Clemson Bioengineering Organization (CBO). With her unique blend of scientific knowledge and legal interests, Tamia is poised to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare and life sciences industries.