Pressure BioSciences (NASDAQ:PBIO) said Friday that the Henry C. Lee (HCL) Institute of Forensic Sciences will evaluate the use of the company's pressure cycling technology (PCT) platform for the extraction of DNA and other biomolecules in a number of forensic areas.
The news follows an earlier collaboration
announced in January with the Florida International University to use
the company's PCT platform to improve rape case DNA testing with a new
procedure to selectively extract male DNA from mixtures of male and
Today, however, the HCL Institute, which is
considered one of the leading forensic teaching facilities in the world,
said it will evaluate Pressure BioSciences'
technology for the extraction of DNA from difficult-to-analyze samples
such as bone, hair, plant tissue, pollen and finger nails - broadening
the applications in the forensic field.
All of these samples can
be important in a crime scene, cold case or archeological
investigation, but current methods to prepare difficult forensic samples
are often inadequate or unavailable, the company said.
company's patented PCT platform uses rapid and repeating cycles of
hydrostatic pressure at controlled temperatures to extract cell
components in the preparation of a biological sample, such as DNA, RNA,
and proteins from humans, animals and plants, for further study.
applications of the company's PCT-based products are endless - from the
key $2 billion target market of mass spectrometry, an analytical
technique used to determine the characteristics of molecules, to
biomarker discovery, forensics and counter-bioterrorism, among other
In addition to traditional crime scene samples, the HCL
Institute, based at the University of New Haven, will also test the PCT
platform for detection of counterfeit foods, which may adulterate
important food products such as rice and tea.
The company said
it believes that adding PCT to the standard sample preparation workflow
for such samples could result in "greater DNA recovery, improved
reproducibility, enhanced standardization, and a better overall quality
"Advances in forensic science, including the
development of new and improved technologies for DNA detection, may
enable investigators to solve or close many cases that are challenging
to forensic laboratories today," said Pressure BioSciences VP of marketing, Dr. Nate Lawrence.
are honored to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with a
world-renown authority like Dr. Henry C. Lee and his team at the HCL
Institute. We believe that better DNA extraction will result in improved
detection of DNA in forensic samples, and that this improved detection
will result in better prosecution of the criminal and more expedient
exoneration of the innocent."
Dr. Lee has been a prominent player
in many of the most challenging criminal cases of the last 45 years,
including the JonBenet Ramsey murder, the OJ Simpson and Laci Peterson
slayings, the post-911forensic investigation, and the Beltway sniper
During his career, he has worked with law enforcement
agencies worldwide in helping to solve more than 6,000 cases. He is a
recipient of the Medal of Justice from the Justice Foundation, and is a
chaired professor of forensic science and founder of the Forensic
Science Program at the University of New Haven.
Dr. Lee, the
Chief Emeritus for Scientific Services and former Commissioner of Public
Safety for the State of Connecticut, has also served as Connecticut’s
Chief Criminalist since 1979.
In a statement Friday, Dr. Lee
commented: "We are impressed with the data generated by Dr. Bruce
Budowle and his team at the University of North Texas related to the
increased detection of DNA in difficult, low copy samples. We are also
impressed with the findings of Dr. Bruce McCord and his team at Florida
International University related to the potential use of the PCT
Platform to enhance the processing of rape kits.
"We are thus excited about this opportunity to collaborate with Pressure BioSciences
to examine the potential applications of their PCT Platform in
improving the collection of forensic evidence, particularly DNA, in
several additional, important areas of forensics."
Since Pressure BioSciences
began commercial operations in the middle of 2007, it has come a long
way, releasing a number of PCT-based products geared towards the $6
billion sample preparation market, including three pressure-generating
instruments named Barocyclers, a patent-pending sample homogenization
device (The Shredder SG3), five types of single-use processing
containers and six different, application-specific reagent kits.
the company has installed around 200 of its PCT Barocycler instruments
plus required consumables in laboratories. The sample preparation system
has been proven to be safer, more accurate, reproducible, and much
faster than current cell extraction methods - with up to 48 samples able
to be processed from a wide variety of cells and tissues within
On Wednesday, Pressure BioSciences,
announced that data supporting advantages of its PCT platform were
presented last week at the 56th annual meeting of the Biophysical
Society in San Diego, California and this week at the 8th annual US
Human Proteomic Organization Conference in San Francisco.
Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, researchers reported the development
of a specially-designed, pressure-based Electron Paramagnetic Resonance
(EPR) system that uses rapid changes in pressure to monitor the rate of
protein conformational changes likely related to a protein’s function.
This strategy allows the investigation of events that would be difficult
or impossible to study by conventional EPR technology.
At the US HUPO Conference, Dr. Alexander Lazarev, VP of research and development for Pressure BioSciences,
reported on the benefits of the application of high pressure in sample
preparation for proteomic research, directed towards the discovery of
protein biomarkers for human disease. Data from the study indicated that
pressure-enhanced sample preparation can help to discover proteins that
have been traditionally difficult to detect, the company said.
In a statement Wednesday, president and CEO of Pressure BioSciences,
Richard T. Schumacher, said: “We believe these studies, in combination
with existing data reported by other researchers using the PCT Platform,
strongly indicate that PCT can enhance the recovery, detection, and
measurement of proteins from a wide variety of samples, and thus should
be considered as part of the standard proteomic sample preparation
"As part of our 2012 commercialization plan, we will
be focusing a large amount of our marketing effort on drug development
and biomarker discovery laboratories, where we believe these exciting
and convincing proteomic data will allow us to be highly successful in
increasing the sales of our PCT Systems.”
Indeed, Pressure BioSciences
has been accelerating its commercialization efforts as of late. Earlier
this month, the life sciences company inked another distribution deal
with Netherlands-based life sciences company LA Biosystems BV. In
February, it announced the signing of a co-marketing and selling
agreement with Digilab, and late last year, inked a partnership with IUL
to distribute its PCT product line in Germany and Switzerland.