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GEN News Highlights : Jul 28, 2011

Biomatrica and USAMRIID Sign CRADA to Develop Biological Sample Stabilization Reagents

Program will focus on technologies for use by U.S. military that will also have applications in clinical diagnostics research.

Biomatrica and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) focused on the development, validation, and potential commercialization of technologies for maintaining the stability of clinical and biological samples at room temperature.

The CRADA follows on from preliminary evaluation of Biomatrica’s stabilization reagents by USAMRIID, which the firm says has shown particular promise in stabilizing biological samples for diagnostics. Ongoing research will focus on new formulations that would be of particular benefit to the U.S. military. “We are very excited to see the application and use of our technologies within the U.S. military and are looking forward to getting some of these new technologies commercialized for broader use in clinical and diagnostic research that also has an immediate benefit to molecular diagnostics and the field of personalized medicine,” remarks Rolf Muller, Ph.D., Biomatrica’s president and CSO.

Biomatrica’s SampleMatrix® platform has been developed to enable the stabilization and protection of biological materials at room temperature without degradation. The platform combines the biology of extremophile organisms, which can exist in extremely dry conditions, with synthetic chemistry. The firm claims its platform has wide-ranging applications in the biotech, pharma, and diagnostics industries.

The SampleMatrix technology effectively preserves samples through the formation of a protective thermo-stable barrier during a simple air-drying process, effectively "shrink-wrapping" the sample and protecting it against degradation from heat and UV light until ready for use, Biomatrix claims. Aqueous samples are applied directly to the matrix and air dried at room temperature, which activates formation of the protective SampleMatrix barrier. Importantly, the barrier is designed to completely dissolve within minutes during sample rehydration, enabling the complete and rapid recovery of samples without degradation or loss of biological activity. The recovered samples can then be used directly for downstream applications without further purification.  

Biomatrica has exploited the technology to develop product ranges spanning preanalytics, nucleic acid stabilization, assay enhancers, laboratory sample management and storage accessories, as well as custom products and solutions.

In March the firm announced a technology collaboration with SAIC-Frederick focused on developing better processes for the isolation and preservation of nucleic acids from tumor samples collected by pathologists in the clinic. Under the collaboration, SAIC-Frederick researchers at the Laboratory Animal Sciences Program will explore integration of proprietary reagents from Biomatrica into molecular pathology workflows. The objective is to streamline processes while increasing efficiency and integrity of RNA isolated from histological samples in cancer studies. The collaboration was established under the Advanced Technology Partnerships Initiative of the National Cancer Institute.