ATLANTA, GA. — The National Cancer Institute is funneling $1.65 million over the next two years to a Georgia startup to help fund further development of a sensor to detect and diagnose diseases, including cancer.

Vivonetics, which was co-founded by a researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is seeking to commercialize a nano-scale sensor that it calls a “molecular beacon”. The sensor is a miniscule probe that fluoresces once it binds with a targeted messenger RNA molecule.

The company believes its technology will be able to detect cancer at a molecular level.

The funding is in the form of a Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) Phase 2 grant.

Karim Godamunne Bao, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering that is operated by Georgia Tech and Emory University, will lead the research team from Vivonetics and Tech. Bao is a co-founder of the company.

The company hopes to launch its first product in May of next year.
Earlier, Vivonetics received a STTR Phase 1 grant for $30,000. It has also received $118,000 in grants through VentureLab, a Georgia Tech effort to support commercialization of research discoveries.
Vivonetics was founded in 2003.