High throughput screening for food safety a reality

High throughput screening for food safety a reality Key EC food consumer safety improvement project presented at European Research 2002 Brussels, Belgium, November 12, 2002. As the EC announces its 6th Framework Research Programme, the FoodSENSE project was today presented at European Research 2002 as a showcase project demonstrating the success of EC 4th Framework funding. Coordinator of the successful project, Dr Karl-Erik Hellenäs of the Swedish National Food Administration, presented results showing how Biacore International AB (Biacore) (SSE: BCOR; Nasdaq: BCOR) optical biosensor technology can improve consumer food safety. The FoodSENSE project has demonstrated the applicability of Biacore's SPR (Surface Plasmon Resonance) biosensor based technology for the high throughput analysis of potentially harmful contaminants and chemical residues in food. Involving eight other organisations from four countries, the project was supported by the EC Programme For Agriculture And Fisheries (FAIR) as part of the 4th Framework Programme. Some veterinary medicines used to treat animals can produce residual contaminants in meat and milk products and may result in acute food poisoning, allergic reactions or development of antibiotic resistant organisms. Few techniques have the necessary throughput, reliability, reproducibility, or sensitivity to satisfy the challenging requirements of the food industry. However, final results from FoodSENSE have shown that a substantially higher daily throughput of tests (up to 650 samples/day) can be performed using SPR technology, with the capacity to rapidly detect a much wider range of residues compared to existing test methods. Such increased performance can help regulatory authorities and food production laboratories increase food-monitoring capabilities in a variety of environments such as abattoirs and dairies. For example, a meat factory has been able to increase testing for certain antibiotic residues from less than 0.1% of all carcasses daily to over 20% using SPR technology on-site. "The FoodSENSE project has made a great step forward in the rapid detection of food contaminants to improve consumer safety," said Karl- Erik Hellenäs. "During the project we have validated the technology in a number of very challenging food production sites and EC National Reference laboratories. We have shown that Biacore's SPR technology really improves the reliable detection of veterinary residues and the capability of food production laboratories to assure the safety, quality and composition of food." "Combined with ready to use assay kits, our biosensor technology is extremely versatile and user friendly for routine food analyses in a non- laboratory environment," said Esa Stenberg, Head of Biacore's Food Business Unit. "Our high throughput system has been shown to achieve automated, multi-analyses on a range of important drug residues in both laboratory and industrial environments". SPR technology has also been successfully used to detect and measure illegal growth promoters in the urine of cattle, and antibiotics in the bile and tissue of pigs. It is, in addition now under evaluation by a major European poultry producer to detect Salmonella infection in poultry, a problem that may contribute to as much as 20% of human infections. As a result of the FoodSENSE project a new company, XenoSense Limited, has been formed, with the focus on implementing the scientific and technological advances made during the project. In partnership with Biacore, the company has developed assay kits and reagents for the detection of food contaminants using SPR technology. To date six kits are now available for the rapid analysis of sulfadiazine and sulfamethazine (sulfonamides), clenbuterol, streptomycin, ractopamine and chloramphenicol. As a result of the widespread EC consultation on future food quality and safety research, a project entitled BioCop has been shortlisted for possible FP6 funding. The author of this work, another FoodSENSE partner, Dr Chris Elliott from Queen's University, Belfast, explained, "I strongly believe the use of optical biosensors will form an integral part of many types of food assurance analysis in the coming years." Cautionary Statement This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which, by their nature, involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. About Biacore Biacore is a global market leader in Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) technology based systems with its own sales operations in the U.S., across Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. A strong patent portfolio protects Biacore's SPR technology, which gives unique real- time insights into biomolecular interactions. Target groups for the Company's products consist primarily of medical and life science research laboratories and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies around the world. Biacore is focusing on drug discovery and development as its prime areas for future growth. The Company currently has seven systems on the market, the most important of which are: Biacore®S51 for applications downstream of high-throughput screening (HTS) including rapid characterization of HTS hits, and the comprehensive pre-clinical evaluation of lead compounds, and Biacore®3000, which offers flexibility in key life science research and drug discovery applications upstream of HTS. The recently introduced Biacore®C is specifically designed for compliant concentration analysis of biopharmaceuticals in GLP/GMP applications. A new SPR array chip system, which will provide higher information content, is expected to reach the market in 2004. Based in Uppsala, Sweden, the Company is listed on Stockholmsbörsen and Nasdaq in the U.S. In 2001 the Company had sales of SEK 544 million and an operating income of SEK 64 million. Further information on Biacore can be found on the web: www.biacore.com Address and phone: Biacore International AB Rapsgatan 7, SE-754 50 Uppsala, SWEDEN Phone: +46 (0)18-67 57 00 Fax: +46 (0)18-15 01 10 e-mail: info@biacore.com ------------------------------------------------------------ This information was brought to you by Waymaker http://www.waymaker.net The following files are available for download: http://www.waymaker.net/bitonline/2002/11/12/20021112BIT00440/wkr0001.doc http://www.waymaker.net/bitonline/2002/11/12/20021112BIT00440/wkr0002.pdf