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SAIC-Frederick and Biomatrica Collaborate to Improve Molecular Analysis in Cancer Research

FREDERICK, Md., May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- SAIC-Frederick, Inc. and Biomatrica have begun a technology collaboration to improve molecular analysis of tumors, which is becoming increasingly important in cancer research and in the design of the next generation of targeted therapies.

The two organizations will focus on developing better processes to isolate nucleic acids from tumor samples collected by pathologists in the clinic. Preserving nucleic acids, particularly RNA, is important for correlating histology of tumor tissues and molecular analysis. Traditional methods for preserving these nucleic acids are not well adapted to the clinical setting, however, so their usefulness in research has been limited.

The collaboration was developed under the Advanced Technology Partnerships Initiative (ATPI) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). SAIC-Frederick is the operations and technical support contractor for NCI's federal national laboratory in Frederick, Md., and facilitates partnerships for the ATPI, which aims to move basic research findings more rapidly into the clinic to benefit patients.

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.

"Our team continually explores better ways to conduct assays. This collaboration with Biomatrica may improve isolation of nucleic acids from histological samples, particularly very labile RNA molecules," said Larry Sternberg, Ph.D., Director of the Histology Section of the Laboratory Animal Sciences Program. Sternberg is employed by SAIC-Frederick, which operates the facility for NCI.

Conventional RNA isolation from histological samples is typically a low-throughput operation that requires considerable infrastructure and can be too expensive for large- scale studies. The collaboration has the potential to change this paradigm.

"We have developed novel formulations that protect nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) in blood, tissue, cell lines, saliva, biopsy material, etc. at room temperature with comparable or better performance than traditional ultra-cold temperature systems. These products have the added benefits of yielding significant cost savings, improved workflow, higher sample quality, scalability and flexibility," said Dr. Rolf Muller, Biomatrica's President, Chief Scientific Officer and Founder. "We are excited to be partnering with a leading scientific organization such as SAIC-NCI in developing new technologies for better management of critical biological samples in cancer research."

About SAIC-Frederick

SAIC-Frederick, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a Fortune 500® company, is the operations and technical support contractor for the National Cancer Institute's research and development center in Frederick, Md. This is a national laboratory dedicated to rapidly translating basic research into new technologies for diagnosing, treating, and preventing cancer and AIDS. SAIC-Frederick maintains a full suite of advanced technologies in areas such as nanotechnology, genomics and imaging; operates the federal government's drug and vaccine manufacturing facilities; operates the high-performance Advanced Biomedical Computing Center; and supports more than 300 clinical trials for patients in the United States and around the world.

About Biomatrica

Biomatrica is a San Diego-based biostability company that provides innovative technologies for stabilizing, processing, storing, shipping and assaying biological samples at room temperature. The core technology is designed for use in preserving complex biological samples and assays and is based on the principles of anhydrobiosis ("life without water"), a natural mechanism that allows multicellular organisms to survive extreme environments. Biomatrica's current products stabilize DNA and RNA with no sample degradation, thus labs can reduce their reliance on freezers and drastically reduce shipping costs. Biomatrica products are used in laboratories performing life science research, from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to academic research and forensics laboratories. Custom services to stabilize additional sample types such as proteins are also available.

SOURCE Biomatrica Inc.; SAIC-Frederick, Inc.
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