Ashburn-based Aperiomics, a company that allows doctors to identify infectious diseases through a single test, says it has now received a total of $1.6 million from the National Science Foundation, as well as a $100,000 grant from Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology.
There’s an urgent need for Aperiomics’ services because standard laboratory tests fail, up to 75 percent of the time, to identify pathogens that cause infection, says Crystal Icenhour, the company’s co-founder and CEO.
“The traditional health-care system has never had the right tools to see what’s going on. We have the tool, and our goal is to change everything about how infections are identified,” Icenhour says.
Founded in late 2013, the company launched its clinical services in November 2016 and received its first samples that December. Its customers mainly are doctors treating patients with long-term, unidentifiable infections, says Icenhour. “Some people have suffered for decades and have not been able to find any answer.
“Right now, we tend to fall into the category of [the option of] last resort, but we want to be the first option because logically we fit best as a first response,” she adds. That’s because Aperiomics can analyze DNA data using its patented technology to identify any known pathogen bacteria, virus, fungi or parasite — in just one test.
Aperiomics recently completed a pilot study with Lifenet Heath in Virginia Beach, the country’s largest repository of human tissue, Icenhour says. “They lose tissues and organs because of infections. They lose 40 percent of pediatric cardiac tissue due to bacteria. Aperiomics is helping them to solve this issue so ultimately they can save more people.”
Aperiomics has a number of projects in the works with other Virginia companies. It has conducted studies with George Washington University’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn and with Falls Church-based Inova Health System. It also is partnering with Xstream Infection Control Inc. in Oakton, which provides equipment that cleans the air in clinical settings.
The company was a winner in Northern Virginia Chamber’s 2016 Greater Washington Innovation Awards and a finalist in this year’s awards.