Biolog PRESS RELEASES - Biolog Inc.



Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 19, 2001
Contact: Tim Mullane Carole Melis
  Biolog, Inc. CLM Communications
  (510) 785-2564 ext. 319 (650) 342-5686
Biolog Expands Line of Phenotype MicroArrays™ for Medically Important Microbes

Hayward, CA -- April 19, 2001 -- Biolog, Inc., a biotechnology company pioneering powerful new tools for cell-based analysis, announced today the release of protocols using Phenotype MicroArrays™(PMs) for a range of medically and commercially important microbial species, including microbes targeted for antibiotic drug discovery.

Phenotype MicroArrays (PMs) are rapid cellular assays that provide global cellular analysis as well as specific information about cell function. Designed to study a range of cell properties, or phenotypes, PMs enable scientists to quickly and efficiently determine how a genetic change or a drug lead affects living cells. This technology allows researchers to test hundreds to thousands of cell properties simultaneously, and has applications in determining gene function, validating and optimizing drug targets, analyzing a drug's mode of action, assessing toxicology, and basic cellular research.

The new PMs are optimized for the study of Salmonella typhimurium, Vibrio spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cepacia, Ralstonia solanacearum, Sinorhizobium meliloti, and Listeria monocytogenes. The pathogens Salmonella, Vibrio and Listeria can cause acute infections in humans. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia are common environmental bacteria responsible for persistent and serious infections in humans, including lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients, eye infections, bone infections, and septicemias. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is particularly problematic because it is highly resistant to antibiotic therapy. The microorganisms Ralstonia solanacearum, other Pseudomonads, Burkholderia species, and Sinorhizobium meliloti are important in agriculture because of their ability to cause or to benefit plants.

PMs are expected to play an important role in genomics-based anti-microbial drug development. Researchers at universities and pharmaceutical/biotech companies can use PMs to understand the biological differences between harmless or beneficial strains of microbes and dangerous pathogenic strains of the same species. PMs allow scientist to rapidly determine the function of genes thought to be involved in pathogenicity. The gene of interest is altered, then PMs are used to compare the control cell line with the genetically changed cells to see how the cells' physiology has changed.

PMs also provide a comprehensive assay for the effect of drug leads (e.g., antibiotics) on cells. To assess a drug lead's efficacy with an infectious microorganism, the cells are exposed to the drug and PMs fingerprint the physiological effects of the drug on the cell. This use allows rapid screening of chemical libraries, mode of action assessment, drug interactions, and side effects. By using PM technology, researchers gain valuable basic insights into disease processes, validate potential new targets for antibiotics, and rapidly characterize drug leads.

"Since its introduction May 2000, PM technology has received strong interest from researchers around the globe," stated Timothy Mullane, president and CEO of Biolog. "With our ability to provide important answers in antibacterial and antifungal research, we are currently directing our commercial efforts toward the establishment of collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotech companies in accelerating development of infectious disease therapies. We are also beginning to develop PMs for mammalian cells, which should provide powerful tools for researchers working on drugs to treat diseases such as cancer and diabetes."

Listeria monocytogenes is the first gram-positive bacterial species released for PM analysis, and Biolog will soon be releasing PM protocols for other important gram-positive genera including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Enterococcus. Also in development are PMs and protocols for a wide variety of yeasts and filamentous fungi, including pathogens such as Candida albicans and Ustilago maydis. Biolog is the recipient of a Phase II SBIR Award from NIH-NIGMS. The award is funding the development of PMs covering about 2000 phenotypes of the bacterium Escherichia coli and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, the same PMs developed for these species can in fact be used with many other important species.

Biolog is a pioneer in the development of powerful cellular analysis tools for solving critical problems in clinical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology research and drug development. The company's Phenotype MicroArray technology and OmniLog® PM System for such applications as determining gene function, validating and optimizing drug targets, and assessing cellular toxicology. Further information can be obtained at the company's website,