Almac Group Announces Winners of claraT Grant Programme for Academia

July 21, 2020

Over $280,000 of gene expression analysis awarded to 10 cancer researchers

Craigavon, N.I., 20 Jul 2020Almac Diagnostic Services, a member of the Almac Group, is pleased to announce the winners of its inaugural claraT* ‘Grant Programme for Academic Cancer Researchers’. Worth

$287,000 of data analysis in total across all winners, ten selected research institutions globally will now each have the chance to utilise Almac’s claraT software solution to further their gene expression cancer research projects.

Academic research scientists may not always have access to expertise in the comprehensive analysis of gene expression data, which could ultimately help fast-track biomarker discovery and translational research.

Almac invited global academic research scientists, with an oncology focus, who had access to good quality gene expression data, to submit applications providing details of their project and how claraT could benefit their cancer research efforts.

The 10 successful grant recipients are:

Cancer ResearcherInstituteDisease Indication
Wei Zhang PhDNorthwestern UniversityGlioblastoma
Zhou Zhang PhD
Analiz Rodriguez MD, PhDUniversity of ArkansasBrain Metastasis
Jarod Barrott PhDIdaho State UniversityOsteosarcoma
Gjumrakch Aliev MD, PhDGALLY Research InstituteLung Carcinoma & Sleep Apnea
Prof Tarek BismarUniversity of CalgaryProstate Cancer
Verena Wally PhDMedical University of Salzburg, AustriaRDEB/SCC
Dr Yue ZhaoUniversity Hospital of Cologne, GermanyGastrointestinal Cancer (GI)
Dr Mariano Ponz-SarviseClinica Universidad de Navarra, SpainPancreatic Cancer
Dr Vincenzo CorboUniversity of Verona, ItalyPancreatic Cancer
Antonella Verrienti PhDSapienza University of Rome, ItalyThyroid Cancer
Prof Anna Maria CiminiUniversity of L’Aquila, ItalyGlioma

The full Academic institution information and Academic researcher titles can be found here:

Professor Richard Kennedy, Almac Diagnostic Services’ Global VP of Biomarker Development & Medical Director, commented: “Congratulations to all the successful Almac grant recipients. We wish them every success as they continue their research efforts, new discoveries and future publications. Almac are delighted to play a part in that journey. We are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to cancer research scientists where Almac will cover the costs associated with utilising claraT to help classify gene expression data. Ultimately, with a view to better understanding the significance of the underlying biologies, which could lead to novel combination or targeted therapies in the future.”

Grant applications were received from across the US, Canada and Europe. All submissions were reviewed by a multidisciplinary scientific review panel, highly experienced within the cancer research field. The review panel, comprised of Dr Kienan Savage from Queen’s University Belfast PGJCC (The Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research), Almac’s Dr Laura Knight, Global VP of Data Sciences and Dr Nuala McCabe, Biomarker Research Manager, ranked and selected the winning grant projects based on the submission pre-defined selection criteria. Applications were assessed on the study design, the translational significance & the potential to generate data for publication within a year.

Each recipient will be given the opportunity to use Almac’s innovative claraT software solution which provides a concise, easy to interpret report ,with over twelve months of bioinformatic analysis in just a couple of days. Almac claraT reads out 92 unique gene expression signatures across all 10 Hallmarks of Cancer^ – A process which typically requires deep technical expertise and significant time & money investment.

One winner, Dr Wei Zhang, Associate Professor, Department of Preventative Medicine, from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (Chicago, USA), upon receiving the Almac grant award, stated what this would mean for their research: “Having won this Almac grant award, we are very pleased to have an opportunity to utilise an innovative tool that could provide us with novel insights into gene networks and pathways that are related to glioblastoma and patient survival.”

Further information on Almac claraT Total mRNA Report can be found here:

* claraT is a unique software driven solution, classifying the most biologically relevant gene expression signatures into a comprehensive easy-to-interpret report. Note: claraT is for research use only (RUO) and is not to be used for diagnostic or prognostic purposes, including predicting responsiveness to a particular therapy.

^ The Hallmarks of Cancer, originally published in Cell 144, Hanahan & Weinberg, Hallmarks of Cancer. The Next Generation, 646-674, © 2011.


Notes to editors

About Almac Group

The Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation providing an extensive range of integrated services across the drug development lifecycle to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally. Its innovative services range from R&D, biomarker discovery development and commercialisation, API manufacture, analytical services, formulation development, clinical trial supply, IRT (IVRS/IWRS) through to commercial-scale manufacture.

The international company is a privately owned organisation which has grown organically over the past five decades now employing over 5,600 highly skilled personnel across 18 facilities including Europe, the US and Asia.

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