For Immediate Release: April 2, 2004
Contact - BIS Public Affairs 202-482-2721
The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that Molecular Probes, Inc., of Eugene, Oregon (Molecular Probes) agreed to pay a $266,750 civil penalty to settle charges that it exported toxins to numerous countries in violation of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) charged that on 97 occasions between January 1998 and October 2002, Molecular Probes exported conotoxin and tetrodotoxin without the required export licenses from the Department of Commerce.
Conotoxin is used as a tool to allow researchers to study biological molecular activity and structure. Tetrodotoxin is used as a reagent in scientific experiments in the field of neuroscience to study cell structure or other molecular components. Both conotoxin and tetrodotoxin are controlled exports under the EAR for chemical and biological, chemical warfare, and antiterrorism reasons.
Molecular Probes voluntarily self-disclosed the violations and fully cooperated with the investigation. Molecular Probes has since been acquired by Invitrogen Corporation, which agreed to guarantee payment of the civil penalty.
Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Julie L. Myers commended Special Agent Dave Severson of BIS’s San Jose Field Office for his efforts in the investigation.