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Apr 18, 2007

EPA Awards ToxCast Contracts to BioFocus and BioSeek

  • BioFocus DPI and BioSeek join the EPA’s ToxCast program. The goal of ToxCast is to generate toxicity data on up to 10,000 environmental chemicals and information on their potential impact of on the environment and human health.
    BioFocus DPI will provide chemical procurement and compound management services as part of the program. The contract covers a period of up to five years and has a total value of up to $8.56 million.

    The company will acquire, analyze, store, format, and deliver specific compounds to a variety of sites selected by the EPA. The total size of the collection will be determined at the EPA's discretion.

    BioSeek’s contract covers the use of its BioMAP® Systems technology to profile toxic effects. It is eligible to receive a maximum of $12.8 million over a period of two to five years. The specific value will depend on the volume of testing required during the contract period.

    Compounds will be profiled in systems designed to model human tissue and disease states, with endpoints including inflammatory responses, cell proliferation, cell death, and tissue remodeling. Primary cells to be used in these assays include endothelial cells, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, bronchial epithelial cells, fibroblasts, keratinocytes, and vascular smooth muscle cells. With these assays, BioSeek profiles the activity of compounds within the context of key human biology functions and classifies compounds according to their mechanisms of action.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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