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Just add water
INDIANAPOLIS—BioStorage Technologies Inc., a worldwide provider of temperature- controlled sample storage and management, and Biomatrica, a provider of room temperature (RT) sample stabilization, will join forces to enable customers to leverage both companies' core strengths, per an agreement announced last month.
As Lori Ball, BioStorage's vice president of global operations, points out, samples used in research and clinical trials are typically stored at -4_C down to -80_C—even in liquid nitrogen—depending on the process, the sample type, size, storage time, history and future use. It's not uncommon, she notes, for samples to be moved from one storage condition to another.
"We try to stay innovative," Ball says. "Clients are looking for new and better ways to store and protect samples, and Biomatrica offers something that is different from anything else we have to offer. After reviewing numerous potential partners, we selected Biomatrica as they clearly set the standard in this field. We are excited to drive the industry forward through this partnership as we believe that providing options to our clients is paramount."
BioStorage will also provide the option for conversion services for clients to transition samples from frozen to room-temperature storage through the use of Biomatrica's products, DNAstable, RNAstable and DNAgard. Conversion provides an alternative storage method and supports BioStorage's current initiatives to adopt green technologies. Offering this technology balances the company's reliance on freezers and decreases cold-chain shipping costs. The company's facilities will offer its clients the option to utilize Biomatrica's dry storage technology, which provides security-controlled storage and ensures a stable humidity environment for samples. In addition, real-time tracking and monitoring of samples will be provided through BioStorage's inventory management system.
Among the many different tissue types stored via the company's technology, about 25 percent would be candidates for Biomatrica's solutions, either on a conversion basis or as the original storage option.
Amplifying Ball's comments, Judy Muller-Cohn, CEO of Biomatrica, adds, "We are pleased to have this opportunity to work with the leading sample management organization and look forward to the ongoing partnership with BioStorage Technologies.
"Combining the novel technology of Biomatrica with BioStorage Technologies' world-class services provides a uniquely integrated solution that addresses the needs of the biobanking and biorepository community. These offerings also support a highly sustainable environment that scales with growing sample inventory."
In fact, the conversion from cold storage to room temperature promises real "green" advantages, as Biomatrica Spokesman Omoshile Clement points out, as much of the world's refrigerated storage and its transport present real challenges. Even HVAC technology to lower ambient temperatures and decrease energy consumption and the increased carbon footprint of dry ice dissipation are factors.
Certain tissue types are not candidates for RT storage—blood and saliva, for example—but the 25 percent comprising RNA and DNA used in sequencing, microarrays and PCR are, and these applications are growing. The core technology is designed for use in preserving complex biological samples and assays and is based on the principles of anhydrobiosis ("life without water"), a natural mechanism that allows multicellular organisms to survive extreme environments. The conversion process itself involves thawing the sample at the correct rate. An aliquot is extracted from the original tube (preserved as the "parent") and put into the liquid Biomatrica product, which surrounds it and stabilizes it in a manner that "biomimics" the natural process, Clement states.
"If you need to use the sample, you simply add water to dissolve the glass-like shell," he says.
What's next for the partnership? "Evolution of storage technology will mandate that we change and grow," says Ball.
"We hope to create new technologies that will have additional benefits," adds Clement.