Chicago Research Scientists Launch Precision Biomarker Resources: On the Critical Path of New FDA Drug Development Initiative

Note to Editors/Reporters: Precision Biomarker Resources founders will also be available for interviews at BIO 2006 April 9-12 at McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. To schedule an interview, call Debbie Dodge at 773-278-6300, extension 221.

CHICAGO: Business Wire (April 4, 2006) — Placing themselves squarely on the critical path of a renewed federal focus on disease and drug research, four scientists from Children's Memorial Research Center in Chicago have launched Precision Biomarker Resources, a contract research organization based in Evanston, Illinois. Precision provides microarray processing and data analysis services for pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic researchers who use the latest methods for discovering biomarkers in their quest for new disease therapies. Precision uses the Affymetrix GeneChip® Microarray platform and is an Affymetrix Authorized Service Provider.

The development of new biomarkers — measurable characteristics used to determine the progress of a disease or the effects of a treatment — has increased dramatically since human genome mapping led to a genomics revolution. "Biomarker discovery is important in analyzing diseases and in predicting the performance of a drug during development, reducing uncertainties about effectiveness and safety and accelerating the preclinical process," said David B. Paul II, Ph.D., president of Precision Biomarker Resources. "Microarrays allow researchers to analyze the effect of a drug or treatment on literally tens of thousands of genes simultaneously, enabling scientists to determine the exact mechanisms of a drug's effect on a disease," Dr. Paul added.

In addition, microarray comparisons of healthy and diseased genes yield information that can be used for more precise drug targeting and a clearer understanding of the causes of a disease, according to Eric G. Bremer, Ph.D., Precision's chief scientific officer. "Last month, the Food and Drug Administration released a new Critical Path Opportunities report for modernizing biomedical discoveries that placed biomarker development at the top of the list, followed by streamlining clinical trial designs and bioinformatics," Dr. Bremer said. "Precision is poised to help with all three areas."

Precision builds on its principals' leadership in tumor studies and their commitment to advancing disease research. It was founded by the scientists who established and developed the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Program at Children's, including Dr. Paul; Dr. Bremer; Jason Monroe, Precision's director of operations; and David George, the company's director of bioinformatics. Dr. Bremer launched a microarray core facility at Children's in 1999 to support his tumor research and the work of other leading pediatric disease investigators. Precision team members have also conducted their own drug development.

The fifth founder is Charles C. Happ, Precision's business director, who is also board chairman of the Technology Innovation Center (TIC) incubator based in Evanston, whose alumni include Peapod Inc., IDEO, the Illinois Superconductor Corporation, and Surgical Insights. Precision Biomarker is Mr. Happ's fourth startup company and his first in biotechnology. His other successful startups are in water filtration, real estate finance and equipment leasing. Precision is headquartered at TIC, which welcomed Precision as its first biotechnology startup in an effort to springboard interest from other entrepreneurs focused on the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Precision Services

Precision accelerates research and drug development by providing targeted biomarker discovery services, including microarray processing, experimental design consultation and data analysis. Precision offers highthroughput processing of genomic and genetic samples using the latest Affymetrix GeneChip® Microarray platform. The laboratory provides the full spectrum of Affymetrix-based services, including gene expression analysis arrays, single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping (SNPs), tiling arrays and exon arrays.

Precision's bioinformatics tools include several proprietary quality control and data analysis methods that reduce the false positive rate in experimental comparisons. The team's bioinformatics innovations using data mining have been published in numerous peer-reviewed articles and have been recognized with well-known awards, including an InfoWorld 100 Award in 2003 and a 2004 Best Practices in Informatics Award from Bio-IT World. The team also has unmatched capabilities in using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (QPCR) to validate the results of these experiments.

The team members' expertise in designing experiments for optimum performance can streamline the clinical trial process. Their experience in the theory and practice of leading-edge technologies in a regulated environment enhances every stage of the process, from discovery through preclinical, clinical and post-market studies.

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