DNA Technology Innovator Recognized for Achievements by Small Business Administration
Reston, Va. (31 January 2017) –Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon) announced today its receipt of the 2016 Tibbetts Award, presented by the Small Business Administration (SBA) in honor of small businesses that exhibit excellence in technology innovation. Winners are considered “the best of the best” from the thousands of firms that currently participate in the Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and are selected for the economic impact of their innovations, and the extent to which their innovations have served federal R&D needs. Parabon received the award, along with other winners, at the SBIR Hall of Fame and Tibbetts Award Ceremony, held Jan. 10 2017 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.
With assistance from the SBIR program, Parabon has developed and commercialized DNA technologies in both the forensic and therapeutic industries. Starting from SBIR Phase I and Phase II awards from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Parabon developed the Snapshot DNA Phenotyping System, the world’s first software application capable of accurately predicting appearance, ancestry and kinship from forensic DNA samples. Rather than improving on existing capabilities, Parabon innovated in the fields of genetics and computer science to build an entirely new method of analyzing forensic DNA. In the two years since it was first commercialized, Snapshot has been used by over 80 agencies within the law enforcement and counterterrorism communities, with analyses performed on samples from 10 countries.
Separately, SBIR projects with the National Science Foundation, Army Research Office, and Edgewood Chemical Biological Center helped Parabon develop the company’s computer-aided design (CAD) software for nanoengineering DNA constructs, the inSēquio™ Design Studio. Now, with funding from the Defense Health Program and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the company is using inSēquio to design and develop synthetic vaccines, i.e., vaccines created purely through chemical synthesis to avoid the risks associated with traditional attenuated (“live”) vaccines. The ability to rationally design and produce multifunctional compounds from DNA, where the relative location of each subcomponent is precisely determined, gives Parabon and its customers a compelling drug and diagnostic development advantage.
“We are honored to receive the Tibbetts Award and grateful to the government agencies that have believed in our capabilities. The award serves as recognition of our long-term efforts to innovate at the intersection of DNA technology and high-performance computing,” said Dr. Steven Armentrout, CEO of Parabon. “It’s also a testament to the energy and creativity our entire team brings to their work,” he added. Paula Armentrout, VP Operations at Parabon said, “The SBIR/STTR program is a wonderful economic development tool and a valuable resource for small businesses. We owe a special ‘Thank you’ to Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) for making us aware of the SBIR program, and for providing the training and support that helped us succeed.”