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DNA Genotek and BioServe to Support Genetic Study of Craniofacial Anomalies in Ethiopia  
8/2/2012 10:31:47 AM

OTTAWA, ON, August 2, 2012. DNA Genotek, a subsidiary of OraSure Technologies Inc. and a leading provider of products for biological sample collection, and BioServe Biotechnologies, Ltd today announced that they are jointly providing support for a new genomic study into craniofacial anomalies (cleft lip and palate) in Ethiopia. The project, titled “Collaborative study on gene- environment interaction in craniofacial anomalies”, will investigate the genetic and environmental causes of craniofacial anomalies (cleft lip and palate) with the ultimate aim of prevention. The research project will be conducted by principal investigator Dr. Mekonen Eshete of Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia with the support of external advisers and collaborators - Professor Peter Mossey of the University of Dundee and Dr. Azeez Butali of the University of Iowa.

In Ethiopia, infectious diseases such as HIV, TB, and malaria are the primary health concerns which often results in less focus on congenital problems. However, the impact of a congenital birth defect can be very severe when coupled with poor socioeconomic conditions. Through the DNA Genotek Helping Hands Program, DNA Genotek will be providing Oragene®•DNA kits to collect DNA from saliva from study participants. DNA Genotek Partner Program member BioServe Biotechnologies will provide the DNA extraction services as part of its corporate philanthropy program. The collaboration will enable the execution of this important research project.

“I believe the support we are receiving from DNA Genotek and BioServe will help bring a change in the management of congenital anomalies in general and clefts in particular. While the majority of Africans have knowledge about congenital anomalies including clefts, different superstitious meanings are given to the condition and in fear, many parents leave children born with congenital anomalies to die. Supporting this research will bring a change in both medical treatment and societal attitudes,” said Mekonen Eshete, MD, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Addis Ababa University.

“BioServe welcomes the opportunity to participate in the DNA Genotek Helping Hands program, particularly for a cause as worthy this one,” said Rama Modali, President of BioServe. “It’s rewarding for our entire company to see our services directly contribute to results-oriented public health projects like this one that offer such large potential impact.”

“The DNA Genotek Helping Hands Program has a long history of assisting organizations that are innovators in disease research, disease prevention and treatment,” said Ian Curry, president, DNA Genotek Inc. “We chose to support this project as we firmly believe that it will have a long-term impact on significant numbers of people. We are pleased to work with our partner company, BioServe, on this important initiative to ensure its ultimate success.”

“The reality is that in the present circumstances many infants born with CL/P in sub-Saharan African countries, and in other low income countries in the world do not survive, often due to lack of awareness and perceived burden of care”, said Professor Peter Mossey, University of Dundee. “This generous gesture by DNA Genotek and BioServe, by raising awareness is literally life-saving, and will unlock the potential for a study in Ethiopia that can be replicated in other sub-Saharan African countries and that is geared ultimately towards primary prevention.”

“These are exciting times for cleft research in Africa and this study provides a wonderful opportunity for prevention of clefts and other birth defects”, said Dr Azeez Butali of the University of Iowa.

About DNA Genotek

DNA Genotek Inc., a subsidiary of OraSure Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSUR), focuses on providing high-quality biological sample collection, stabilization and preparation products. The company’s Oragene®?Dx product line is the only FDA 510(k) cleared saliva-based collection kit for in vitro diagnostic use. DNA Genotek also offers Research Use Only products to collect and preserve large amounts of DNA or RNA from saliva for use with humans, animals or livestock. The reliability and ease-of-use of the company’s products have resulted in rapid adoption at top-tier health research institutions globally, including Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, and Johns Hopkins. DNA Genotek markets its products worldwide and has a global customer base with thousands of customers in over 100 countries. For more information about DNA Genotek, visit www.dnagenotek.com

About BioServe

BioServe provides a comprehensive 'biomaterial to validated data' genomics services platform, helping researchers gain the pre-clinical data for breakthroughs in drug discovery, molecular diagnostics and pharmacogenomics. Utilizing BioServe's genomics services platform, researchers can identify genetic markers, validate drug targets and correlate clinical data with molecular data to accelerate the development of new and safer drugs. BioServe's services extend from nucleic acids processing, DNA synthesis, high throughput genotyping, genome wide-scans and gene expression analyses to ready-made large epidemiologically sound case-control studies of inflammatory disorders, endocrine disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and many cancers. BioServe's Global BioRepository provides researchers with a library of 600,000 human DNA, RNA, tissue and serum samples linked to detailed clinical and demographic data from 120,000 consented and anonymized patients from four continents.

For information about this press release contact:

Shauna White

DNA Genotek Inc.

613-723-5757 ext. 307

shauna.white@dnagenotek.com


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