IGEN to Supply Botulinum Toxin Tests to USDA's Food Safety And Inspection Service

GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- IGEN International, Inc. announces that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has commenced purchasing IGEN's botulinum toxin test as part of an expansion of their Homeland Security program for food safety.

The botulinum toxin test is one of several IGEN biological agent detection tests based on it's proprietary Origen technology, designed for the detection of Category A and Category B biological agents, including agents such as anthrax, and staphylococcus enterotoxin B, among others. IGEN's tests are utilized in a wide variety of Homeland Security and biodefense initiatives.

The FSIS is the public health agency of the USDA that is responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products are safe and correctly labeled and packaged, as required by Federal regulations. The FSIS purchase follows their successful completion of an evaluation of the IGEN botulinum toxin test.

Botulinum toxin is one of the most poisonous substances found in nature. The toxin easily poisons those who ingest it and an infection of the nation's food supply could make thousands of people sick. A quantity of toxin with the weight of a paper clip could kill one million people. The technical feasibility for the botulinum toxin test was the subject of a recent presentation by IGEN at the 2003 Gordon Research Conference on Chemical and Biological Terrorism Defense. IGEN scientists reported the results of studies demonstrating that Origen technology was successfully used to develop extremely sensitive and rapid tests for the detection of these toxins in food samples.

"Biological toxins, particularly botulinum toxin, pose one of the most serious threats to the safety of our nation," stated Samuel J. Wohlstadter, chairman and CEO of IGEN. "Supplying the FSIS with our proprietary botulinum toxin tests further expands the use of ORIGEN technology for the protection of the nation's food supply and we look forward to meeting their needs. The power of Origen technology and its growing use in Homeland Security and biodefense initiatives are positioning IGEN to become the premier provider of detection systems for biological agents."

IGEN continues to work closely with other U.S. government agencies on biodefense and Homeland Security, including numerous departments within the U.S. Department of Defense. Over the last year, IGEN has expanded its line of Origen-based products for Homeland Security and biodefense by developing tests for the detection of biological agents, including bacteria, viruses and toxins. New Origen-based tests, including the botulinum toxin test, are also expected to be commercially available to non-government customers.

IGEN develops and markets biological detection systems based on its proprietary Origen technology, which provides a unique combination of sensitivity, reliability, speed and flexibility. Origen-based systems are used in a wide variety of applications, including clinical diagnostics, pharmaceutical research and development, life science research, biodefense testing and testing for food safety and quality control. These systems are marketed by IGEN and its licensees and/or distributors. IGEN and Origen are registered trademarks of IGEN International, Inc. More information about the company can be found at http://www.igen.com/ .

Source: IGEN International, Inc.