Recognizing an unmet need for the same type of research she was doing, founder Jin-Xiong founded Jinfiniti to offer a faster, cheaper way to process cell samples. His ultimate goal: discovering better ways to treat diabetes and cancer
Screening more than 350,000 newborns across the world for genes that put them at risk for type 1 diabetes and following them for 15 years is, in a word, cumbersome. Doing it without robotic technology that speeds up that process could have proven near impossible.
As principal investigator on the $10 million “The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young,” or TEDDY study, Jin-Xiong is trying to piece together genetic and environmental causes of the disease. Screening thousands of blood samples, multiple times a year, she and other scientists working on the study found no place that offered high-throughput scientific services on such a large scale.
High throughput uses robots, data-processing software and sensitive detectors to quickly conduct millions of “tests.” The process can rapidly identify active compounds, antibodies or genes and the results can provide starting points for drug design and for understanding the interaction or role of a particular biochemical process.
“There really was an unmet need,” says She, also director of the Augusta University Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine.
In 2010, She founded Jinfiniti Biosciences, LLC, to meet that need. The company provides a variety of high-throughput scientific services including nucleic acid isolation, genomic analysis, antibody production, immunoassays, medicinal chemistry and toxicity evaluation for academic and pharmaceutical institutions. In its first two years, Jinfiniti had already secured two multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts to isolate large numbers of RNA/DNA samples using an automated proprietary high-throughput platform that offers superior ability to process samples at high speed and low cost.
She’s short-term goal is providing those research services on a contract basis to pharmaceutical companies and large research programs, including the worldwide TEDDY program.
“It is a great way to provide our expertise and generate revenue which we’ll use for further research and development,” She says. “But our long-term goal is to help translate discoveries into clinical practice and ultimately improve people’s health.”
She and the other 10 employees of Jinfiniti are doing that by working to find biomarkers for human disease prediction and diagnosis. That could lead to more personalized drugs, which would better treat diseases like diabetes and cancer, he says.
It’s something She says wouldn’t be possible without the Augusta University incubator.
“Having that here is so important to career development,” She said. “Of course, it is a wonderful economic driver for this community, but more than that, it supports commercialization and entrepreneurship, something that is so important. Biobusinesses are the wave of the future.”