AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 8, 2012 (Astrogenetix PR) — Astrogenetix Corporation, a subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation (Nasdaq:ASTC – News), has entered into a Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA, (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). This SAA commits to providing the critical resources needed to continue utilizing the International Space Station (ISS) and to further the development of important on-orbit microgravity vaccines and therapeutic drug experiments.
Astrogenetix entered into a similar SAA in 2009 resulting in 12 successful missions on the Space Shuttle that led to the discovery of potential vaccine targets for both salmonella and MRSA. This experience clearly identified that the most important part of the discovery process is the repeated frequency of access to microgravity. The new SAA reflects this important priority and NASA has committed to provide a minimum of 28 missions between 2013 and 2016.
Astrogenetix PR — NASA astronauts onboard Space Shuttle Discovery’s final mission to the International Space Station (ISS) will carry out the eleventh scientific payload for Astrogenetix, a commercial biotech company based out of Austin, Texas. The research on STS-133 will focus on changes that occur to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in microgravity, which can be targeted to create new vaccines and therapeutics.
For the fourth time this year, NASAâ€™s Shuttle fleet is carrying a series of experiments being conducted by Austin-based Astrogenetix, a commercial biotech company created to use microgravity to develop the foundation of new medicines.
Payload on Space Shuttle Atlantis Flight STS-129 will consist of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) microbes in search of a target for a therapeutic or vaccine. Research will build on information gained during experiments conducted on board STS-128, which launched in August of this year. Those experiments have allowed Astrogenetix to hone in on a specific group of genes that show promise for identifying a vaccine candidate. On STS-129, Astrogenetix will interrogate specific genes within this group to further narrow the scope of virulence determinants.
Can vaccine breakthrough help cure NASA’s ills? Space Flight Now
A vaccine to protect people against Salmonella, a deadly bacteria that often contaminates food processing operations, is headed for human testing following commercial development in zero gravity on the space shuttle and International Space Station.
Along with supply and equipment cargo bound for the International Space Station, Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 will carry an additional scientific payload being conducted by Austin-based Astrogenetix, the first commercial space company to use microgravity to discover the foundation of new medicines.
Specifically, research will be conducted on Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella microbes in search of a potential target for a therapeutic agent or vaccine candidate. These bacterial microbes are known to cause hundreds of thousands of medically diagnosed infections every year around the world.