TRENDSPOT: SXSW “Developing Meds in Space to Save Lives on Earth”

By | 2016-11-04T16:58:03+00:00 September 5, 2013|Innovation, JUICE TRENDSPOT, Viewpoints|

In this episode of JUICE TRENDSPOT, Alec Pollak shares his learnings about the research conducted by Astrogenetix, Inc., on the International Space Station, as presented at SXSW 2013.

Thomas Pickens, CEO of Astrotech Corporation, believes that outer space has a lot to offer the world. When the International Space Station (ISS) opened its research facilities to commercial and academic partners in 2005, Astrotech created Astrogenetix, Inc., for the purpose of discovering “therapeutically relevant and commercially viable biomarkers” in the unique environment of zero gravity, or microgravity.

Microgravity provides a rich environment for scientific discovery. Take bacteria, for example. In space, some bacteria become 10 times more virulent than on earth. It’s not entirely understood, but this phenomenon may be similar to preparing for hibernation. Just as a bear gluts itself to survive a winter’s hibernation, bacteria may sense its journey into space and begin to gorge itself—and grow stronger—in preparation for surviving the trip.

Astrogenetix has produced quick and impressive results. After placing Salmonella bacteria into microspace, they discovered and isolated a candidate for a Salmonella vaccine. And they’ve recently
completed the same meticulous work on a MRSA vaccine candidate. It seems that, as far as biotechnology research is concerned, the sky is no limit.

Trend: Developing Drugs in Microgravity

This JUICE TRENDSPOT episode features: Alec Pollak, VP, Director of User Experience for JUICE Pharma Worldwide. Twitter: @apollak

For more information:

SXSW Description: Developing Meds in Space to Save Lives on Earth

Presenters: Thomas Pickens, CEO, Astrotech Corporation

Session Details: NASA and various international space agencies have spent an estimated $100 billion on the development and construction of the ISS. The ISS was envisioned as being an on-orbit microgravity laboratory “that will make valuable products in space to improve and save lives on earth.” Astrogenetix, Inc., was formed in 2007 to commercialize on the many discoveries that were, and can be, made in microgravity.

The ISS was designated as a national laboratory in 2005, opening up the research facilities of the orbiting laboratory to commercial and academic partners. This official designation enabled the company to enter into a Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA in 2008 providing Astrogenetix, until 2016, with access to and from the ISS while having the right to use ISS resources, including, but not limited to, crew time, power, equipment, rack space, and data downlink, for the purpose of conducting experiments in microgravity to produce commercial products here on earth.



We’re always fascinated with innovations in healthcare, especially in the context of new frontiers like space exploration.  What adventures in innovation inspire you? Let us know in the comments below…


About the Author:

Ben Putman
SVP, Creative Technology and Innovation

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