Asterand Offers Researchers Internet Access to RNA to Speed Drug Discovery

    DETROIT, March 5 /CNW/ - Asterand (LSE:ATD), the Detroit based biobanking
company is offering research scientists simple and easy access to human RNA
samples via the internet.

    "This is a valuable new service to help scientists focused on early stage
drug discovery," says Dr Victoria Blanc Asterand's Director of Product
Development. "The first RNA samples available through Asterand's e-commerce
site ( include those from common cancers such as
breast and colon cancer. Over time we will be adding thousands of RNA samples
from a wide range of diseases."

    "The value of RNA analysis is that it is an effective way of
differentiating between the diseased state and normal state of tissues. Our
provision of this material over the internet expedites the process of
identification of novel cellular targets for drug development.

    "The high quality RNA coupled with the ease of acquisition is important
because the isolation of the RNA is complete, the RNA integrity has been
evaluated and approved, and therefore experiments can be planned and executed
without delays."

    "We are providing scientists with unique and unusual material. Each
sample of total RNA is from an individual donor, supplied in 5 ug aliquots.
Asterand standard clinical data are provided with every sample, along with
pathology report details, so that the clinical context of the RNA can be
understood. Each sample has been quality assured by use of the Agilent
Bioanalyzer and confirmed to have an RNA integrity number of at least 6, and
in tumor samples, no less than 70% tumor cells. This ensures that the
materials are suitable for all forms of gene expression analysis - from
Northern blots, to TaqMan to Affymetrix chips.

    "Over the last several years we have gained a great deal of experience in
processing hundreds of thousands of samples of RNA," says Dr Anja Penger,
Director of Biomaterials, and head of the RNA project at Asterand's UK
facility in Royston, UK. "Our team has high throughput capacity for measuring
and aliquotting samples, bar-coding and distribution. We are very excited to
be able to provide the RNA with the efficiency of online sales."

    Asterand plc is a UK public company that supports human drug discovery by
providing high quality, well characterised human biomaterials and preclinical
research services.

For further information:

For further information: Asterand Dr. Victoria Blanc, 313-263-0960

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