MORRISVILLE, NC- ATTAGENE, a Research Triangle Park-based life science company, has received the prestigious Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration. According to the U.S. SBA, the Tibbetts Award honors Small Business Innovation Research program participants “that have created a significant economic or social impact through the use of SBIR funding and are considered the best of the best from the thousands of firms that currently participate in the program.”
ATTAGENE has invented, constructed, and commercialized a first-of-a kind molecular biology platform (the FACTORIAL™) that enables high-content-assessment of gene regulatory pathways in human and animal cells. ATTAGENE uses this platform as a powerful new tool for drug discovery and development and for assessing the safety of environmental chemicals, natural products, and drinking water.
ATTAGENE was founded in 2001 by Dr. Sergei Makarov, then Associate Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. In 2004, the company received two SBIR grants from the National Cancer Institute. The awards provided early funding for the proof-of-concept study and prototype development, and fostered the follow-up funding for ATTAGENE R&D and commercialization by contracts and grants from the government regulatory agencies, NIH, and biopharmaceutical industry.
The ATTAGENE mission is to provide innovative tools for drug discovery and development and toxicity testing. These tools help to eliminate unsafe drug candidates at the earliest stage, thereby reducing drug development costs, and provide radically new solutions for toxicity testing, bringing about a cleaner and safer environment. Furthermore, ATTAGENE’s technology-based animal-free test systems enable comprehensive assessments of the safety of environmental chemicals, consumer products, and drinking water.
The company provides research services to biopharmaceutical industry and government regulatory agencies, including the U.S. EPA, NICEATM NIEHS, and the U.S. Geological Survey. ATTAGENE technology has become an integral part of the U.S. EPA ToxCast program dedicated to the development of new approaches toward toxicity assessments of environmental pollutants. In 2010, ATTAGENE evaluated the safety of oil dispersants used for cleaning the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Based on these data, the U.S. EPA issued recommendations for the oil dispersant use.