Million for MicroTest

AGAWAM, Mass.—MicroTest Laboratories (MTL) has received a $1.22 million contract to provide aseptic manufacturing support for the production of a series of recombinant vaccines against botulinum neurotoxins—one of the most poisonous natural biological substances known that poses a major bio-weapons threat.

The contract was awarded to MTL through DynPort Vaccine Co. (DVC; Frederick, Md.), a contractor of the Department of Defense, under the Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program (JVAP).

The JVAP is responsible for developing, licensing and stockpiling specific bio-defense vaccines and other products to protect armed forces personnel against potential bio-weapons agents. —MAD

White particles, no worries

ROCKVILLE, Md.—The Food and Drug Administration says white particles first detected last month in batches of blood throughout the southeast pose no health or safety risk.

“Findings to date indicate that the particles are composed of normal blood substances,” the agency says. “All analyses to date of possible infectious agents, chemical contaminants or blood bag defects have found no abnormalities that indicate a public health risk.”

The FDA began investigating in January after it received reports of white particulate matter in a batch of blood in bags manufactured by Baxter Healthcare Corp. in Georgia. Later it was determined at least 120 units of blood distributed to Georgia and several surrounding states, including Florida and Tennessee, contained the particles. Baxter has said its investigation indicated the white particles were clumps of normal blood cells or proteins. —MAD

Daw determined

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah—Daw Technologies Inc., a cleanroom component designer and installer, has filed for Chapter 11, but its European subsidiary, Daw Technologies Ltd., will continue to operate normally outside of bankruptcy.

“At this stage, we feel that Chapter 11 offers the best way for us to continue to provide our U.S. customers with industry-leading cleanroom products and construction services, while we address our existing debt, capital and cost structures,” says Jim Collings, chief executive officer. —MAD

Two more for Neptune

MURRAY HILL, N.J.—Neptune Seafood is adding two more of The BOC Group's ozone pathogen intervention system to help control food-borne pathogens and extend product shelf life at Neptune's Los Angeles shrimp processing plant.

To combat food-borne pathogens such as E. coli, listeria monocytogenes (listeria), coliforms and other spoilage organisms, BOC engineered and integrated an anti-microbial ozone system to the in-feed water supply, introducing ozone directly to the thaw tank and onto the shrimp at various stages of processing to lower the level of pathogens. Ozone-laden water is also circulated throughout the plant for use in other processes. —MAD

Thick skinned

LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Two major tissue recovery and processing organizations—LifeTek Inc. and DCI Donor Services—have finalized agreements with Clearant Inc. to license the company's patented pathogen inactivation process in order to begin providing hospitals and patients with safer, sterile tissue allografts.

The Clearant process, based on gamma irradiation, is designed to be used for allograft tissue in the final container, thereby allowing the final product to be “terminally sterile” for use in the operating room.


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