News and Announcements
Baltimore Biotech to Expand Scope of Use From Cancer Research to
Pharmaceutical Research and Contract Manufacturing
April 29, 2002 ?Athena Environmental Sciences, Inc. (AthenaES™) today announced
the acquisition of serum-free media and other cell culture products from Biological
Research Faculty & Facility, Inc. (BRFF), Ijamsville, MD. Serum-free media is a complex
mixture scientists use to grow cells from humans and animals for medical research and
drug development. By using serum-free media, researchers can avoid the safety and quality
control issues posed by variations in animal serum.
The BRFF serum-free media are among the most established and scientifically valid
formulations available today and used by all the leading cancer research centers, including
Johns Hopkins Health System, the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute,
and the Mayo Clinic. Unlike other serum-free media, the product line acquired by AthenaES™ has
broad applicability to grow cell lines for use beyond cancer research. Athena plans to begin
marketing the four serum-free blends to production markets, including pharmaceutical companies,
contract manufacturers and biotech start-ups. The formulations are for lab research only and
cannot be used for clinical trials.
?Without a broad spectrum of media formulations to grow cell lines, lab researchers
face a restrictive operating environment that hinders the aggressive pace of research, said
Sheldon E. Broedel Jr., Ph.D. ?Anyone who is growing a human cell line or any mammalian cell
line whether it's for stem cell research or other promising treatments will benefit from the
multiple applications these products permit."
MdBio, Inc., a private nonprofit corporation that supports commercial development
of bioscience in Maryland, served as a lead investor for the acquisition and provided business
?MdBio is pleased we could play a catalytic role in the acquisition of these product
lines by AthenaES, said MdBio President C. Robert Eaton. A MdBio consultant was the first
to recognize the synergy between BRFF and AthenaES™, which was an important factor in this
MdBio also funded the previous expansion of AthenaES? media manufacturing operations.
AthenaES? specializes in developing and manufacturing biotechnology products. The privately-owned
company produces a line of biotechnology ingredients used in the manufacture of proteins, cell
lines and other biological materials. Its services include identification, design, development
and manufacture of specialty enzymes for research, diagnostic and industrial applications and
custom contract services for the production of recombinant proteins. AthenaES? recently released
four new media formulations that can dramatically improve the production of recombinant proteins
in the bacterium E. coli or produce recombinant proteins where standard formulations have failed.
E. coli is the workhorse for the production of recombinant proteins and the first choice
of researchers who need to make large quantities of pure protein.
?The acquisition of BRFF?s cell culture products is a strategic move for the company,
said Broedel. ?The serum-free media and other cell culture products complement our existing
bacteriological culture media and puts us in a new market niche.
?Several companies were interested in acquiring our cell culture products division.
My decision to select AthenaES? was based on its commitment to lab science and to the customers
we have served over the past 17 years, as well as the scientific credentials of its staff, said
Dr. P. Thomas Iype, retiring president of BRFF. AthenaES™ scientific staff includes Ph.D.-level
researchers as well as an experienced technical support staff.
The cell culture products as well as its bacteriological media are available through
11 international distributors. Large and custom orders can be obtained through these distributors
or directly from AthenaES™. More information is available on the company's web site at
www.athenaes.com, by phone at 888-892-8408, or by faxing requests to 410-455-1155.