Pressure Bio to Clean Oil Spills?

Pressure BioSciences Inc.: Brand new application for PCT platform technology

In a news release dated on August 23, 2010, Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (PBIO) announced a collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).

Scientists at LBNL are using PBIO’s pressure cycling technology (PCT) platform in studies aimed at improving the analysis of microorganisms in environments with low biomass, such as oil reservoirs or deep sea oil plumes from oil spills. It is possible that improved microbe analysis may lead to better strategies for oil spill clean-up. LBNL’s successful use of PBIO’s PCT-based products over the past few months has led to this collaboration.

PBIO is installing three additional NEP3229 PCT Sample Preparation Systems (PCT SPS) at LBNL under an initial six-month reagent rental program, to be used alongside of their recently purchased NEP3229 PCT System. PBIO will also provide support for the use the company’s PCT SPS at LBNL.

We believe the collaboration between LBNL and PBIO may open up a brand new application area for PBIO’s PCT platform: oil spill clean-up. Oil spills are a worldwide problem for the environment. Since 1967, there have been nearly 50 major oil spills in 19 countries, many of which were designated as “environmental disasters.”

The effects of an oil spill — no matter the size — can be devastating on both marine and coastal life. Consequently, rapid and effective clean-up, based in part on a thorough understanding of the biological changes, effects, and consequences of an oil spill, is essential to help minimize both short and long-term damage.

The recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill by BP was one of the world’s largest oil spills in history. Approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil were released into the Gulf from April 20th to July 15th, 2010, killing thousands of marine animals and severely damaging the Gulf’s fishing and tourism industries.

The oil spill in the Gulf has resulted in an enormous environmental catastrophe which has necessitated an unprecedented clean-up effort. So far, multiple strategies have been used — including chemical dispersants, skimming, booms, and controlled burns. However, one of the most promising — and environmentally safest — strategies is to rely on natural microorganisms to degrade the oil before it can accumulate.

A team of scientists from LBNL has launched a major effort to collect samples from Gulf waters near the oil spill, to monitor the microbial degradation process and the potential for natural microbial clean-up of the oil. Due to the low number of microorganisms in these samples, LBNL scientists need to use the best, most sensitive sample preparation methods to analyze these important but challenging samples.

PBIO’s PCT platform has the advantage of generating greater nucleic acid and protein yields from low concentrations of microorganisms than other existing technologies. That’s why LBNL has chosen to use PBIO’s PCT-based products in this project.

We believe the collaboration is the result of PBIO’s growth strategy expanding the company’s PCT platform into new application areas. We believe that there are a lot of other laboratories performing similar work to LBNL. Since oil spills will continue to occur, it is important for these labs to develop new, environmentally-sound microorganism-based clean-up strategies. It’s highly likely that PBIO’s PCT platform will also be adopted by other labs in the future which will ultimately translate into sales and earnings for the company.

We have a Outperform rating on PBIO with a six to twelve month price target of $5.00 per share.

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