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Meridian Bioscience Announces Award Of SBIR Grant and Submission of Proposal for Biodefense Program

CINCINNATI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 5, 2004--Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (Nasdaq:VIVO) announced today it has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This Phase I Grant will help fund research to develop highly specific recombinant antibodies to Clostridium difficile toxins A&B and then use these unique antibodies to develop rapid, inexpensive and sensitive diagnostics. Meridian will continue to pursue additional grant projects to improve rapid disease detection. In keeping with this goal, Meridian Bioscience has submitted an SBIR Phase I proposal to the Small Business Biodefense Program to develop reagents and test methods to detect toxins produced by pathogenic E. coli strains like E. coli O157:H7. These toxin producing E. coli strains are included in category B of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Biodefense Research Agenda as agents likely to be used in a bioweapon assault. Meridian is also investigating new diagnostic tests for West Nile Virus and Norovirus, both widespread and dangerous pathogens that are classified as category B potential bioweapon agents.

Clostridium difficile infection is a serious medical problem affecting up to 3 million patients annually in the United States. Up to 20% of all hospital inpatients, 95-100% of those with pseudomembranous colitis, and 25-80% of all healthy neonates and infants test positive for this organism. Once a hospital, nursing home or other healthcare facility has experienced a C. difficile outbreak it is extremely difficult to eliminate this organism from the environment. These issues point to the urgency of preventing exposure to C. difficile and rapidly diagnosing it and appropriately treating this disease, thus improving the individual's prognosis for recovering and limiting the nosocomial spread of this infection. "This grant, along with the other proposals that Meridian has submitted, will help us facilitate the discovery of new and important biological materials for the detection of various diseases and will also help us explore new technology platforms with which to couple these unique reagents," said John A. Kraeutler, President and Chief Operating Officer.

Meridian is a fully integrated life science company that manufactures, markets and distributes a broad range of innovative diagnostic test kits, purified reagents and related products and offers biopharmaceutical enabling technologies. Utilizing a variety of methods, these products provide accuracy, simplicity and speed in the early diagnosis and treatment of common medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal, viral, urinary and respiratory infections. All Meridian diagnostic products are used outside of the human body and require little or no special equipment. The Company's products are designed to enhance patient well-being while reducing the total outcome costs of healthcare. Meridian has strong market positions in the areas of gastrointestinal and upper respiratory infections, serology, parasitology and fungal disease diagnosis. In addition, Meridian is a supplier of rare reagents and specialty biologicals along with proteins and other biologicals used by biopharmaceutical companies engaged in research for new drugs and vaccines. The Company markets its products to hospitals, reference laboratories, research centers, veterinary testing centers, physician offices and diagnostics manufacturers in more than 60 countries around the world. The Company's shares are traded through Nasdaq's National Market, symbol VIVO. Meridian's website address is www.meridianbioscience.com.


    CONTACT: Meridian Bioscience, Inc.
             John A. Kraeutler, 513-271-3700

    SOURCE: Meridian Bioscience, Inc.