Hayward, CA- June 28, 2004 - Biolog, Inc. announced today that it has received another patent on its Phenotype MicroArray Ô (PM) technology. The patent, number US 6,727,076, is granted for comparative phenotype analysis. The invention relates to growing and testing microorganisms in a multitest format which utilizes a gel forming matrix for the rapid screening of clinical and environmental cultures. Phenotype MicroArrays are suited for the characterization of commonly encountered microorganisms (e.g., E. coli, S. aureus, etc.) and industrially important organisms from various and diverse environments (e.g., the present invention is particularly suited for the growth and characterization of the actinomycetes and fungi). This patent extends the company’s intellectual property on comparative analysis of phenotypic differences between cell types, including strains of microorganisms, as well as other cell types (e.g., mammalian, insect, and plant cells). This patent, along with other recently announced patents, extends the number of patents granted on the PM technology. The company now has 24 patents on its cellular assay technologies. The PM technology has applications in multiple areas of research, ranging from basic research to high-throughput screening of chemical compounds against cells. The technology is already working with a diverse list of microbial species including microbes used in antibiotic drug discovery. The technology is currently being extended to other cell lines.
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. Yeast and filamentous fungi include Saccharomyces cerevisiae,Candida albicans and fungal pathogens such as Aspergillus spp. Phenotype MicroArrays are expected to become standard, essential tools for cellular analysis and genomic-based drug development. Biolog is working to expand the technology to human cell lines in the near future.
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 antisense 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.