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 development assistance.

?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 transaction.

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, by phone at 888-892-8408, or by faxing requests to 410-455-1155.