The National Institutes of Health has awarded a large grant to a life sciences startup company based on Indiana University technology. The two year, nearly $1.5 million grant will fund research performed by Arrhythmotech LLC that seeks to determine if nerve activity is associated with atrial fibrillation.

Arrhythmotech will use the money to discover new methods of studying patients with atrial fibrillation, which causes the heart's upper chambers to contract irregularly. IU says the company is developing a device that, on the patients' skin, can detect nerve activity. Co-founder Peng-Sheng Chen says the grant will help the company better establish the technology.

"The grant will allow us to collaborate with investigators at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles," said Chen. "After the grant period has ended, Arrhythmotech will determine the next steps to make the method widely available to the medical community for research, education and patient care."

Chen is also the director of the Krannert Institute of Cardiology and chief of the Division of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine at the IU School of Medicine. He helped form Arrhythmotech through the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp.'s Spin Up program.

The company previously received an NIH grant worth more than $212,000 in 2014 and came in second place in the 2015 BioCrossroads New Venture Competition.