Biotech firm adds virology biosafety lab


RICHMOND, Va.—Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc. (CBI;, known for its research and development in biodefense and bioterrorism technology, has opened a 500-square-foot virology biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory for production of select agent viruses and assay of clinical samples stemming from a human trial of a vaccine that targets those viruses.

Among its methodologies, CBI has developed services for detection, on-site sampling and monitoring for such pathogenic agents as anthrax. All samples that test positive at CBI labs are forwarded to public health laboratories, government agencies, or law enforcement labs for confirmation.

"We are planning a further expansion of the BSL-3 suite to include a production bacteriology laboratory," says Thomas Reynolds, executive vice-president/science and technology. "There is growing demand in the bio-defense sector for these services."

The BSL-3 lab contains equipment to grow, isolate and manipulate restricted organisms in a safe manner. It is equipped with a 190-square-foot biovestibule for changing, safety equipment, autoclave, incubators, water baths and analysis equipment.