Everett medical research lab wins federal contract to study effects of radiation poisoning

EVERETT (AP) - A Washington laboratory has secured a federal contract to help test medicine that could be used to treat survivors of a nuclear attack.

The Daily Herald of Everett reports that SNBL USA in Everett, a subsidiary of the Japan-based Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories, will be one of a pool of labs used to determine which drugs best treat radiation poisoning.

The labs conduct medical research in animals at its facility just north of Paine Field.

SNBL Vice President of Business Development Mark Crane says the lab has added 40 workers to prepare for the five-year, $20 million-per-year contract. He says

SNBL expects to hire another 20 to 30 people.

The lab is expected to expose mice, rats, pigs and monkeys to radiation during testing. But Northwest Association for Biomedical Research executive director Ken Gordon says SNBL works hard to minimize the animals' pain and suffering.

Animal rights advocacy groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have been critical of research operations at the company, saying it results in painful and lethal experiments.

This is SNBL's first federal contact.