MDI Biological Laboratory
Press Release

MDI Bio Lab Awarded $1.6 Million for Drug-Development Infrastructure

U.S. Senator Susan Collins secured the federal award of $1,607,000 for new, state-of-the-art drug development facilities at MDI Bio Lab.

U.S. Senator Susan Collins secured the federal award of $1,607,000 for new, state-of-the-art drug development facilities at MDI Bio Lab.

The funding supports the expansion of MDI Bioscience, an MDI Bio Lab initiative that uses its expertise with animal models to engineer new drug discovery technologies and therapies. The award comes as the Laboratory significantly expands its research capacity and graduate training programs.

MDI Bioscience is tapping into the knowledge and skills of MDI Bio Lab’s international faculty, who are pioneers in research with an array of exceptional models for human health, such as African turquoise killifish, zebrafish and lab-grown organ tissues called “organoids” and “organs on a chip.”

“These cutting-edge biotechnologies hold game-changing potential for identifying beneficial therapies and quickly weeding out those with unwanted side-effects,” said Hermann Haller. M.D., the Laboratory’s President. “Our goal is to get potentially lifesaving medicines into doctors’ hands faster and more efficiently.”

MDI Bioscience’s approach includes developing high-volume systems to prospect for and evaluate novel molecules and compounds that hold medical potential early in the drug-discovery process, before costlier investments are made in mammal or human trials.

Current research includes a potential drug to interrupt the development of diabetes-related kidney disease, another to enhance blood plasma’s ability to ward off infection, and a partnership with the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences to screen microalgae for anti-inflammatory properties.

“We are deeply appreciative of  Senator Collins’ unwavering advocacy for biomedical research, and the tri-partisan support of Maine’s delegation,” Haller said. “This will fast-track MDI Bioscience’s next phase and spur growth in Maine’s biotech economy.”

The Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its senior Republican member, Collins included the funds in a federal budget enacted in late March. “The scientists at MDI Biological Laboratory are conducting impressive research to improve efficiency in drug discovery,” she said.