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Mousensor, LLC Receives NSF SBIR Grant to Decode the Human Sense of Smell

October 17, 2017

MouSensor, LLC has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $225,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on decoding the human sense of smell.

MouSensor, LLC is an early-stage biotech company that engineers super sniffer mice to build a human-nose-on-a-chip based on fundamental research performed at the Feinstein lab for Neurogenetics at Hunter College, The City University of New York (CUNY). The company’s bold vision is to detect, discover and digitize every single smell on this planet -ranging from the fragrances in a perfumer’s palette to the Chardonnay in your wine cellar. The company’s first target market is the $1.5B Fragrance & Flavor R&D pipeline by providing an objective assay to engineer scents in a rational and streamlined way. By providing a prediction model of how a molecule will smell, Mousensor, LLC enables Fragrance Houses to increase their competitive advantage through the development of unique and sustainable products.

With support of the Michael J Fox Foundation, the company is also employing the MouSensor technology to develop a Parkinson’s specific-nose-on-a-chip. Finding a biomarker for (early-stage) Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the biggest need in the field right now; a PD nose-on-a-chip has potential applications in patient stratification, treatment monitoring and ultimately as a companion diagnostic.

CUNY has an extensive protection of the background intellectual property, which forms the basis for the MouSensor platform technology. “I have been working with the company from the beginning and is excited that they are in the process of acquiring an exclusive license from CUNY that will further aid in leveraging the technology to the fullest,” says Neeti Mitra, Senior Manager, CUNY Technology Commercialization Office

“The National Science Foundation supports small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts,” said Barry Johnson, Director of the NSF’s Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships. “We hope that this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”

“Basically we aim to leverage the human sense of smell which has been fine-tuned through millions of years of evolution and integrate it with state-of-the art silicon chip technology to fully digitize the sense of smell, much like the RGB code for vision,” says Dr. Charlotte D’Hulst, co-developer of the platform and CEO of the company.