HAYWARD, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 1, 2005–Biolog, Inc. announced today that it has been awarded a phase I SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health NIAID Biodefense Program. The grant will be to develop the Phenotype MicroArray(TM) (PM) technology as a tool in antimicrobial development. It will fund the application of Biolog’s innovative PM technology as a tool for evaluation of biologically active compounds using Staphylococcus aureus as the model organism. This application will be added to the expanding application capabilities of PM technology for research in bacteria, yeast, and filamentous fungi.
Phenotype MicroArrays represent a fundamental technology platform that allows scientists to easily and efficiently test hundreds to thousands of cellular traits simultaneously. The technology can be used to determine cellular phenotypic expression in many areas of research. Two of the most significant applications are measuring the phenotypic effects of genetic changes on cells, and the phenotypic effects of drugs on cells. The PM technology is already in use at a number of prestigious genomic research centers worldwide.
Antibiotics, also known as antimicrobial drugs, fight infections caused by bacteria. After their discovery in the 1940s, they transformed medical care and dramatically reduced illness and death from infectious diseases. However, over the decades many important pathogenic bacteria have developed resistance to the drugs that are approved for human use. Staphylococcus aureus, for example, is a major human pathogen, especially problematic in infecting patients in hospitals. Resistance to oxacillin/methicillin is very common in this organism now, and even more threatening is the emergence of vancomycin resistance. For this reason, antibiotic resistance is one of the top concerns at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
Biolog’s work under the grant is intended to facilitate comprehensive and large scale fingerprinting of potential antimicrobials discovered from natural product screening or developed by chemical synthesis. Scientists at Biolog will create a comprehensive, expandable database that will be used as a reference for antimicrobial evaluation. Pharmaceutical and biotech companies with antimicrobial development programs can then easily add profiles of chemicals from their libraries to this expanding database. For each chemical they will be able to utilize software tools to determine the uniqueness of its biological action, provide information about its inhibitory mode of action, and provide synergy and antagonism information for combinations with known antibiotics.
The company believes this application will allow researchers to screen chemicals in a highly rapid and efficient manner to determine vital information about new chemicals and potentially extend uses of current antibiotics. Biolog provides a turnkey systematic approach to cell based testing, with assays, fully automated instrumentation, and software to generate kinetic response curves from living cells.
Biolog, a privately held company based in Hayward, Calif., 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(TM) technology and OmniLog(R) 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.