A Medical Device Daily

Expression Analysis (Durham, North Carolina), a provider of Affymetrix GeneChip brand microarray services for clinical trials, reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded it a contract for genomic services in the agency's ToxCast Program. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Expression will provide gene expression and genotyping services using microarrays from Affymetrix (Santa Clara, California) and Illumina (San Diego), as well as TaqMan PCR assays from Applied Biosystems (Foster City, California).

The ToxCast Program will be managed by the National Center for Computational Toxicology of EPA. It is designed to provide a science-based prioritization of environmental chemicals for more detailed toxicological evaluations.

ToxCast will encompass two phases over multiple years. The first, proof-of-concept phase will involve over 300 chemicals, selected to include a diversity of chemical structures and toxicological profiles. The second phase will apply the approach to environmental chemicals of concern to the EPA.

A prioritization program is expected to save significant dollars and reduce the number of animals required in identifying chemicals with the greatest potential toxicity.

In other contract news:

• Lipid Labs (Houston) has signed a nationwide marketing agreement with SpectraCell (Houston) to market the Lipoprotein Particle Profile Screening product to the medical industry.

The technology, a diagnostic tool for determining patient risk related to blood cholesterol, was sold to SpectraCell by Lipid Labs in 2006.

SpectraCell is a specialized clinical testing laboratory.

Lipoprotein Particle Profile is a cholesterol test that allows doctors to identify health risks that traditional screens miss, Lipid Labs said. The process separates lipids in the blood to create a detailed cholesterol profile that helps doctors identify patients at risk for heart disease. The graph is designed to allow a doctor to precisely analyze a patient's overall risk profile and monitor the effectiveness of a diet or treatment regimen.