ASTROGENETIX ADVANCES MRSA RESEARCH ON HUBBLE FLIGHT

Austin, TX (May 14, 2009) - 

Astrogenetix, Inc., a subsidiary of the Astrotech Corporation (Nasdaq:ASTC), today announced preliminary findings from its microgravity-based virulence survey aboard Shuttle Discovery (STS-119) launched on March 15, 2009. These results showed that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other microbes exhibit altered phenotypical responses during spaceflight. The research demonstrated that the unique environment of microgravity impacted the growth of MRSA bacteria, which will aid researchers in the discovery of potential targets for a vaccine or therapeutic agent to fight infections caused by these microbes.

 

“The success of this survey flight demonstrates that microgravity truly offers a unique platform for drug discovery and development,” explains Thomas B. Pickens III, chairman of Astrogenetix. “We are pleased with the outcome of the survey flight and are tremendously excited with the opportunities for the development of life-saving biomedicines in space.”

 

Astrogenetix is building on the results of the MRSA survey flight with additional research aboard Shuttle Atlantis (STS-125) on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission 4 which launched May 11, 2009. The follow-on flight will help the Company isolate important factors responsible for growth and virulence, the ability of the organisms to cause disease.

 

“Our research provides evidence that the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory is a valuable resource that needs to be utilized,” added John Porter, chief executive officer of Astrogenetix. “Our National Laboratory Pathfinder (NLP) missions have been a tremendous success and represent just a fraction of the possibilities for microgravity discoveries.”

 

MRSA is a type of bacteria that causes infections which are resistant to the typical antibiotics used to treat illness caused by this organism. According to the Center for Disease Control, it is estimated that MRSA is responsible for more than 94,000 serious infections and 19,000 deaths annually. The 2005 NASA Authorization Act designated a portion of the ISS as a National Laboratory, and NASA has provided an opportunity for non-governmental entities to conduct research and development and potentially industrial processing on board the ISS. Astrogenetix is one of the first commercial entities to hold a Space Act Agreement with NASA for use of the ISS National Lab.

 

About Astrogenetix, Incorporated


Astrogenetix is the first commercial biotechnology company to use the unique microgravity environment of space to develop novel therapeutic products. A subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation (Nasdaq: ASTC), Astrogenetix was formed to commercialize biotechnology products processed in the unique environment of microgravity. The Company also offers a turn-key platform for pre-flight sample preparation, flight hardware, mission planning and operations, crew training and certification processes needed within the highly regulated and complex environment of manned space flight. For more information about Astrogenetix, Inc. please see our website at www.astrogenetix.com

 

For more information about NASA’s National Lab Pathfinder (NLP) missions, please see NASA’s website at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/science/experiments/List.html#...

 

About Astrotech Corporation

 

Astrotech is a commercial and entrepreneurial force in the space industry providing a full spectrum of products and services to both the government and private sectors. The Company offers spacecraft prelaunch processing facilities and services, production of valuable commercial products in space, development and extension of space-based products to the consumer market, space access and payload integration services program and engineering support ranging from development and manufacturing of flight hardware to large scale government project management.

 

The statements in this document may contain forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, trends, and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from the forward-looking statement. These factors include, but are not limited to, continued government support and funding for key space programs, product performance and market acceptance of products and services, as well as other risk factors and business considerations described in the company's Securities & Exchange Commission filings including the annual report on Form 10-K. Any forward-looking statements in this document should be evaluated in light of these important risk factors. The Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.