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standards, and we believe that we are the first organization accredited to develop written consensus standards for biological materials. Although there are other organizations engaged in managing biological materials, few of them are developing written standards.

We receive no government subsidy for our collections, and all of our financial resources are generated either through the distribution of the cultures and related products, or from other activities in biological materials management. For a time in our history we did receive some subsidies; however ATCC no longer receives any support from the government for any of its collection activities. ATCC started in Chicago, however it has moved to several other locations in its history including three locations in Washington, DC, until a more permanent home was established in Rockville, Maryland in 1964.

In 1973 ATCC nearly went out of business, and since I joined in 1974 I was not there at the time, but I have heard many of the details. Financially ATCC was in trouble, the director was fired, and the government stepped in and bailed us out, however noting that the support was temporary and that the organization needed to get its act together. Despite this caution we did continue to get assistance for some of the later programs we developed.

With help from a government grant we were able to expand our facilities in 1976, and in the 1980s we began to wrestle with the issue of protecting intellectual property and equitably transferring the biological materials. In 1982 we received some additional government funding in the form of a grant to assist with getting some of our scientific capabilities updated. Data management, particularly with regard to the handling of molecular biology materials, became a critical need at this time. By 1993 our facilities were in bad shape, and we did not have the financial resources to upgrade or relocate. This is typical in a non-profit model where income gets used as it is received; therefore you put your hand out and ask somebody for money.

That is when Dr. Cypess arrived at ATCC, and began turning the company around by capitalizing it through better fiscal and operational management, and we eventually ended up with new facilities in Manassas, Virginia. We are now financially very strong and our products and service offerings include not only the traditional cultures, but also derived materials like DNA as well as other related products. We also have a major division that manages government and commercial contracts, generating additional revenue for support of the collections by leveraging our core capabilities in biological materials management. These activities provide much needed infrastructure support, allowing us to pay our bills and enabling the construction of new facilities.

There are three areas of operational focus for the ATCC that are of particular interest here. First, we seek to protect our biological assets to ensure their continued availability in support of the advancement of life sciences. As some earlier speakers mentioned, a number of biological collections have disappeared over the years because they lost funding, and I too could offer a number of other examples of where that has occurred. Our goal is to not allow that to happen to the biological materials we have been entrusted with; some of them are over 100 years old.

We have an uncompromising commitment to quality, standards, biosafety, biosecurity, and regulatory compliance. We want to make sure things are handled safely, and we want to make sure that we offer the best-quality materials. We also want to ensure standardization for global research activities so that researchers in one location are working with the same material as someone else in another. If the materials they use are different, then their research is not comparable. And, as I noted earlier, we have strains

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