DNA Genotek Inc. Announces Recipients of the DNA Genotek Grant Program

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High quality applications net two winning proposals.

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DNA Genotek, a leading provider of products for biological sample collection, stabilization and preparation, today announced the recipients of the 2012 DNA Genotek Grant Program: Dr. Paul Arnold of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Dr. David Speicher of the Griffith Health Institute. Dr. Arnold will be awarded $30,000(USD) along with 260 Oragene®.DNA collection kits while Dr. Speicher will be awarded $25,000(USD) and 400 OMNIgene®.DISCOVER collection kits.

The DNA Genotek Grant Program, launched in October of 2011, invited research proposals that showcased innovative and novel use of the company’s saliva-based collection and stabilization products in the genetic/genomic basis of one of three designated research areas: cancer, personalized medicine or infectious disease. The quantity and quality of applications received for the program exceeded expectations with many worthwhile proposals vying for the award.

The first grant for “DNA Methylation Profiles of Saliva in Pediatric Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)” was awarded to Dr. Arnold, Scientist in the Genetics and Genome Biology Program and Head of the Anxiety Disorders Program at SickKids, Toronto, Canada. His research is focused on OCD, a common and debilitating neuropsychiatric disorder, for which few genetic risk factors have been identified. Dr. Arnold proposed a novel approach in which he will study DNA methylation which has been shown to influence development of other disorders and which can potentially be impacted by environmental factors. He will use saliva to identify epigenetic changes which will be potentially useful for personalized treatment.

“This grant from DNA Genotek will be used to help identify the epigenetic modifications in children with OCD,” said Dr. Paul Arnold of SickKids. “The developments from this research could expedite the personalized treatment of OCD which has the potential to be highly beneficial to patients since medications are effective in only 50 to 60% of cases.”

The second grant, for “Salivary Diagnostics of HIV, HHV-8 and HPV in two distinct HIV-positive populations: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Chennai, India,” was awarded to Dr. David Speicher and Professor Newell Johnson, investigators at Griffith Health Institute, Queensland, Australia. They will use the grant funds to evaluate a saliva-based method for accurate detection and quantification of HIV, HHV-8 and HPV with HIV-positive patients. PNG and India have major problems with HIV disease and have some of the highest rates of oral cancer worldwide. Many of the earliest signs of HIV are opportunistic oral viral infections. Molecular assays for HHV-8 and HPV using saliva could become standard biomarkers for risk of oral cancer.

“This grant provides a wonderful opportunity for us to move forward with this important research,” said Dr. David Speicher of Griffith Health Institute. “The research will determine the prevalence of HHV-8 and HPV in HIV-positive cohorts. This will allow dentists in PNG and India to be trained to identify early manifestations of oral cancers and HIV-associated oral diseases to enable early treatment. This should have an impact on disease rates in these resource-challenged communities and the methods could be extrapolated for use worldwide.”

“Our recognition and support of Dr. Arnold and Dr. Speicher and their teams reflects our confidence in their work and our commitment to advancing worldwide health and science,” said Ian Curry, president, DNA Genotek Inc. “We originally planned to award only one grant but we were thrilled with the quality and quantity of the applications we received. Dr. Arnold’s application stood out as the winning proposal during the selection process. The selection committee also felt that Dr. Speicher’s application had significant merit and decided to award a second grant to this young investigator. We congratulate both of these outstanding researchers.”

About DNA Genotek:

DNA Genotek Inc., a subsidiary of OraSure Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSUR), focuses on providing high-quality biological sample collection, stabilization and preparation products. The company’s Oragene®.Dx product line is the only FDA 510(k) cleared saliva-based collection kit for in vitro diagnostic use. DNA Genotek also offers Research Use Only products to collect and preserve large amounts of DNA or RNA from saliva for use with humans, animals or livestock. The reliability and ease-of-use of the company’s products have resulted in rapid adoption at top-tier health research institutions globally, including Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, and Johns Hopkins. DNA Genotek markets its products worldwide and has a global customer base with thousands of customers in over 100 countries. For more information about DNA Genotek, visit http://www.dnagenotek.com

® Oragene and OMNIgene are registered trademarks of DNA Genotek, Inc. All other brands and names contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

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Shauna White
DNA Genotek
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