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Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Friday, November 22, 2002
 
Contact: Tim Mullane  
  Biolog, Inc.
  (510) 785-2564 ext. 319
 
BIOLOG REPORTS ADDITIONAL PATENT GRANTED ON PHENOTYPE MICROARRAY™ TECHNOLOGY
 

Hayward, CA - November 22, 2002 - Biolog, Inc. announced today that it has received another patent on its Phenotype MicroArray™ (PM) technology. The patent, number 6,387,651, is granted for comparative phenotypic analysis of two or more microorganisms using a number of substrates within a microwell device. This patent, along with other recently announced patents, brings the number of patents granted to 20. The PM technology has applications in multiple areas of research, ranging from basic research to high-throughput screening of chemical compounds against cells. Already working with a diverse list of microbial species including microbes used in antibiotic drug discovery, the technology is being extended to other cell lines.

This patent covers both methods and compositions for phenotypic analysis of eukaryotic (e.g., fungal and mammalian) as well as prokaryotic (e.g., eubacterial and archaebacterial) cells.

Organisms already tested in the PM technology include gram-negative bacteria Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Vibrio spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cepacia, Ralstonia solanacearum, and Sinorhizobium meliloti. Gram-positive bacteria include Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus spp. Bacillus spp., and Listeria monocytogenes. Also well along in development are protocols for a wide variety of yeasts, such as Saccharomyces and Candida and filamentous fungi including pathogens such as Aspergillus spp. Phenotype MicroArrays are expected to become standard, essential tools for genomic-based drug development.

Salmonella, Vibrio, and Listeria species can act as acute, invasive pathogens to humans. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia are common environmental bacteria that can cause persistent infections in humans, for example lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients, eye infections, bone infections, septicemias, as well as a leading cause of nosocomial infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is particularly problematic because it is highly resistant to antibiotic therapy. Ralstonia solanacearum and other Pseudomonas and Burkholderia species are important agents of plant disease. Sinorhizobium meliloti is an important beneficial microbe that helps plants grow by aiding fixation of nitrogen.

Phenotype MicroArrays represent a fundamental platform technology that allows scientists to easily and efficiently test hundreds to thousands of cellular traits. The technology has many uses, but the two most important uses are to determine the effect of genetic changes on cells and to determine the effect of drugs on cells. For example, many laboratories at both research universities and pharmaceutical/biotech companies want to understand the biological differences between harmless or beneficial strains of microbes and dangerous pathogenic strains of the same species. Genes involved in pathogenicity can be genetically knocked out or turned off via induction methods. The PMs are then used to compare the cell line with the genetic change and see how its physiological properties (phenotypes) have changed. This provides basic insight into the disease process and also validates potential new targets for antibiotics.

The current focus of the company is to develop similar arrays that will work with human cells. The company also has an active technology-licensing program to use the current generation of PMs for development of anti-bacterial and anti-fungal drugs.

Biolog, a privately held company based in Hayward, CA, is a pioneer in the development of powerful new cell analysis tools for solving critical problems in clinical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology research and development. The company's Phenotype MicroArray technology and OmniLog® PM System can be used in the discovery and development of new drugs as well as bioactive agents for animal and plant applications. Further information can be obtained at the company's website, www.biolog.com.

For more information, please contact Tim Mullane, President & CEO, Biolog, Inc., telephone (510) 785-2564 x 319 / tmullane@biolog.com or Robert Koenig, Public Affairs Manager, The Institute for Genomic Research, telephone (301) 838-5880 / rkoenig@tigr.org.