Noblis Awarded Patent for Primer Design Using Indexed Genomic Information

Invention enhances company’s capabilities to design highly discriminatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for rapid, accurate detection and diagnosis.

RESTON, Va. — Mar. 21, 2022 — Noblis, Inc., a leading provider of science, technology and strategy services to the federal government, today announced the award of U.S. patent 11,222,712 for primer design using indexed genomic information.

This primer design method identifies highly discriminatory regions in genomic sequences and rapidly indexes them to create barcodes that are the foundation for primers detecting organisms and pathogens. The patented technology is part of Noblis’ BioLaboro application for rapidly designing new PCR assays and monitoring the performance of existing ones.

“Our patented method further enhances the process of analyzing and distinguishing genomic samples,” said Chris Barnett, Noblis’ chief technology officer. “This invention used together with other Noblis innovations including our portable DNA sequencing system are driving efficiencies in data gathering and decision making that have significant impacts – particularly for public health and national defense challenges.”

Noblis’ method is innovative in that it analyzes a sequence against the whole genome, a larger space than other primer design methods commonly cover. It creates collections of sequences which can be further divided into first and second sets of primers, each containing subsequences (also known as k-mers) within the collection. Data is compared across sequences and iteratively determines whether certain subsequences are present virtually in real time.

“Noblis uses high-performance computing platforms allowing us to index a large volume of sequences and shrink the data making it possible to look at everything we need to analyze without compromising speed,” said Mychal Ivancich, patent inventor and data scientist. “For example, with viruses we can compare all data sets from known sources and ensure the primer only hits what we care about. With COVID-19, it will bypass variants for SARS, MERS or flu but will identify SARS-CoV-2 variants such as Delta and Omicron.”

Learn more about Noblis’ bioinformatics research and tools, advanced analytics capabilities and internally sponsored research and development program and other patents.

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Heather Williams