This Week's Tip
Pressure BioSciences Inc. (PBIO)
Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (PBIO) develops, markets and sells proprietary laboratory instrumentation and associated consumables to the life sciences sample preparation market. Sample preparation refers to the wide range of activities that precede most forms of scientific analysis. It is often complex and time-consuming, yet a critical part of scientific research. The market for sample preparation products is currently estimated at $6 billion worldwide.
The Company’s product line can be used to exquisitely control the sample preparation process. It is based on a patented, enabling technology platform called pressure cycling technology (“PCT”). PCT uses alternating cycles of hydrostatic pressure between ambient (14.5 psi) and ultra-high levels (up to 100,000 psi) to safely and reproducibly control critical biological processes, such as the lysis (breakage) of cells, the digestion of proteins, and the inactivation of pathogens.
Pressure BioSciences’ product line is led by its newly released, next-generation Barocycler 2320EXTREME instrument. Named a finalist in the prestigious 2017 R&D Awards (also known as the “Oscars of Innovation”), the Barocycler 2320EXT is already being touted by some key opinion leaders as an essential element of the $1.8 billion U.S. “Cancer Moonshot” program. For example, Professor Phil Robinson, Co-head of the cancer research center of the Children’s Medical Research Institute (Sydney, Australia), said in a recent interview: “We are collecting the whole proteome on 70,000 tumor samples from all classes where complete clinical outcome is known. Due to its unique capabilities, the Barocycler 2320EXT has become a critical part of our program. It is the primary enabler of the high-throughput component of the project. Without this step, our project simply could not be done. In fact, the Barocycler 2320EXT works so well we have just purchased two more.”
Momentum is building when it comes to the potential for using the Company’s unique PCT technology platform. Leading scientists are intrigued by Pressure BioSciences’ approach, which among other attributes, revolutionizes the process of rupturing cells (lysis) for further study, yielding superior biomolecules for investigation. The Company’s technology transcends current methods of breaking open cells, which use chemicals, blades, metal beads, or other damaging and altering methods that can ultimately adversely affect the result for researchers. Pressure BioSciences’ PCT technology utilizes customized, controlled hydrostatic (water) pressure to rupture cells in a chamber, enabling exquisitely customized levels of pressure to optimally break open different types of cells at prescribed pressure levels—something never before accomplished in a commercial setting. Using this pioneering method, the result is a truer, more legitimate sample, which boosts the efficacy of research and the quality of results. The potential impact of this technology on scientific advancement is enormous, enabling research scientists to begin their studies with biological samples of unprecedented integrity, with the potential to improve research outcomes at the earliest, most critical step. PCT can additionally inactivate pathogens (e.g., viruses, bacteria) using hydrostatic pressure, making the samples safer to study—another innovation with astronomical potential for application in a variety of markets.
The Company’s high-pressure instruments for research purposes are marketed throughout the United States, Europe, China and Japan. To date, Pressure BioSciences has installed nearly 300 PCT Systems in over 165 leading academic, government, biotech and pharma laboratories around the world. Its primary applications are in biomarker discovery, forensics, agriculture and pathology. Over 100 scientific papers have been published on the advantages of the PCT platform, which is also being used in the specialized fields of drug discovery and design, bio-therapeutics characterization, soil and plant biology, vaccine development and histology.
Impressive as their biotech business is, there is more to the PBI story. Pressure BioSciences recently received two patents in China for its novel Ultra Shear Technology (UST), a process that has potential in a wide range of industrial applications, including extending the shelf life of some food products and making two insoluble liquids (like oil in water) soluble. Patents have also been filed in many other countries worldwide. UST is a novel technique based on the use of intense shear forces generated from ultra-high-pressure valve discharge.
This important technology has the potential to play a significant role in a number of commercially important areas through its ability to create high-quality, stable nanoemulsions. Scientific studies indicate that improved absorption, higher bioavailability, greater stability, lower surfactant levels and other advantages can be achieved with nanoemulsions – all hugely important factors in the fields of nutraceuticals, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and in various medical products. There is an enormous opportunity in the cannabis market, since the technology can potentially reduce oil droplets containing cannabidiol (CBD) to nanoparticles, after which they can be safely suspended in a stable water solution—something many companies have endeavored to achieve without success. Researchers looking for a way to increase the bioavailability of cannabinoids in the body will find this technology a game changer.
The Company’s UST technology also has possibilities in the production of clean label foods, which are currently processed using several innovative methods, including high-pressure treatments (such as Starbucks’ Evolution line of juices). In 2015, the worldwide market for high-pressure processed (HPP) food was estimated at U.S. $10 billion. UST uses ultra-high pressures and certain valves to generate intense shear forces under controlled temperature conditions to produce nanoemulsions, and which also significantly reduces food-borne pathogens. Pressure BioSciences’ initial focus with this technology will be to evaluate UST for the production of high-quality dairy products and beverages