Xona Microfluidics® receives a 2-year phase I SBIR grant to develop in vitro assays for evaluating Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and AD related dementias (ADRD) therapeutics using their patented technology. Dr. Anne Marion Taylor, CSO of Xona, leads the project as the principal investigator together with Dr. Tharkika Nagendran, Senior Scientist at Xona, as co-investigator. Scientific advisors include: Dr. Carl Cotman, Professor of Neurology at the University of California at Irvine and the Founding Director of the Institute of Aging and Dementia; Dr. Todd Cohen, Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and, Dr. Sergey Sheyko, Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This project seeks to facilitate and speed up therapeutic discovery to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

The goal of this project is to develop a scalable and reliable cell-based test that models cellular dysfunction in
AD/ADRD. Neurofibrillary tangles, a hallmark of AD, are formed following tau dissociation from microtubules and mislocalization to the somatodendritic compartment of affected neurons. Pathological tau is then released from affected neurons and spreads trans-synaptically eventually leading to cell death. Preventing the initial mislocalization of intracellular tau within the somatodendritic compartment presents an early therapeutic target and may lead to strategies that limit the progression of AD. Xona Microfluidics proposes to develop a reliable, reproducible, and scalable screening assay to identify and validate therapeutic targets that prevent early mislocalization of intracellular tau. 

Xona Microfluidics is in an excellent position to develop screening products and services for preclinical AD research. Xona’s microfluidic platforms facilitate neuron-based studies, including for low- to medium- throughput drug screens. Our patented compartmentalized chip technology directs the growth of axons from a somatodendritic compartment to an isolated axonal compartment allowing distinct microenvironments within each compartment to be established. Xona sells compartmentalized microfluidic chambers in two formats: Preassembled XonaChips® and original Silicone (PDMS) Devices. Over 1,000 publications cite our compartmentalized microfluidic devices and chips. Many of these publications can be found on our publications page.

As stated by the NIH, the “development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of AD/ADRD has proven to be a lengthy, costly, and relatively unproductive process, with drug attrition rates of over 90%…. Consequently, there is a critical need for translation platforms that can accurately and reproducibly mimic the AD/ADRD phenotype in
vivo and be amenable to high-content screening and assay applications.”

During this Phase I we are looking to form partnerships with potential customers to develop additional AD/ADRD assays and to scale up the number of compounds to be screened. If you are interested in our assay development services for AD/ADRD, please contact us at info@xona.us to set up a time to discuss your project.


In 2020 Xona Microfluidics began offer contract research services. To learn more about products and research services provided by Xona, please contact us at info@xona.us.

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