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U.S. EPA Awards Contract Up to $46.7 M to South S.F., Calif. Biotechnology Company

Release Date: 10/04/2012
Contact Information: David Yogi, yogi.david@epa.gov, (415) 972-3350

Funding to develop predictors of human body toxics

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today awarded a five-year contract, worth up to $46.7 million, to the South San Francisco, Calif.-based company BioSeek for research to evaluate the potential human health effects of environmental chemicals, pesticides, failed pharmaceuticals, and nanomaterials, among other substances.

Using its rapid and cost-effective proprietary technology, BioSeek will analyze up to 60,000 substance samples to determine the potential toxicity effects on the human body. Rather than testing substances on animals, tests will be conducted on extracted human cells cultures in its laboratory.

EPA intends to use BioSeek’s findings to screen thousands of chemicals to see if they require additional investigation.

Work is being performed by BioSeek under U.S. EPA’s ToxCast program, which seeks to verify "toxicity signatures" of substances, such as environmental chemicals, and catalog them to help predict adverse effects these chemicals would have on the human body.

EPA researchers have published scientific papers showing how ToxCast can be used to predict a chemical’s potential for liver toxicity, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity and cancer. ToxCast is supplemented by the National Academies’ Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century Federal Agency Research collaboration that uses robotics to test the chemicals.

For more information on BioSeek and its BioMAP technology, visit: http://www.bioseekinc.com

For more information on ToxCast, visit: http://www.epa.gov/ncct/toxcast

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