Cangene Advances Alzheimer's Disease Research with Technology Developed at the University of British Columbia

Readers are referred to the cautionary notes regarding Forward-Looking Information at the end of this release.

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WINNIPEG & VANCOUVER, Feb. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - A truly made-in-Canada treatment for one of the world's most devastating diseases could be closer to patients thanks to a new technology targeting Alzheimer's Disease developed at The University of British Columbia (UBC) and licensed to Cangene Corporation (Cangene). Following the successful research collaboration with the inventor, Dr. Neil Cashman at UBC, Cangene recently obtained commercial rights to the technology platform and plans to advance the program in its pipeline to explore treatments for Alzheimer's Disease, a significant unmet medical need with an increasing burden on health-care systems.

Cangene, with core competencies in the development and commercialization of biologic therapeutics, has established a strong pipeline platform for antibody therapies.  Dr. Cashman's discovery will allow Cangene to advance an immune therapeutic treatment approach to Alzheimer's by targeting the toxic form of Amyloid-beta with the potential to directly impact the disease mechanism of action. Current treatment options are limited and the number of individuals afflicted with this degenerative disease is growing rapidly as the population ages, currently estimated to be 25 million worldwide.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Cashman who is an expert in misfolded protein diseases and help advance his ground-breaking research in Alzheimer's Disease" says Dr. Laura Saward, Cangene's Chief Scientific Officer.  "While this work is in its early stages, it is showing promise for the development of a novel immunotherapy to address this devastating disease and fits Cangene's refocused strategy" adds Dr. Saward.

The Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) is an important sponsor of the Alzheimer's Disease program. The discoveries made by Dr. Cashman were supported by research funding through CIHR and further advanced through a research collaboration between UBC, the federally-funded Prionet Network Centre of Excellence and Cangene, UBC's pharmaceutical industry partner.

UBC and Cangene continue to collaborate on the development of treatments for Alzheimer's Disease with support from CIHR's Proof of Principle Program Phase II. The joint research program to evaluate the therapeutic potential of the target as a vaccine or antibody therapeutic was successful in the latest competition and CIHR has committed to provide $300,000 in funding over a one year period further cementing this as a made-in-Canada solution that has the potential to address this global problem.

"This is an all-Canadian solution in terms of its discovery, development and advancement towards the clinic," says Dr. J.P. Heale, Associate Director of UBC's University-Industry Liaison Office. "The partnerships developed to advance Dr. Cashman's outstanding research are an excellent example of how Canadian universities, funding agencies and industry partners can work together to tackle a devastating disease of national and global importance."

About Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's currently afflicts approximately 25 million individuals worldwide and is becoming ever more prevalent as life expectancy increases. Dr. Cashman in the department of Neurology at UBC has discovered a new way to target the disease with antibodies that could stop its progression and potentially lead to a preventative vaccine. It has long been accepted that a particular protein (amyloid beta) is at the heart of Alzheimer's. To date, therapies have been developed that target the build-up of this protein in the brain referred to as plaques. However, more recently, it has been scientifically accepted that it is a specific form of this protein, which exists prior to their formation into plaques that actually attacks the brain and causes Alzheimer's.

About Cangene Corporation

Cangene Corporation (TSX: CNJ), headquartered in Winnipeg, Canada, is one of the nation's oldest and largest biopharmaceutical companies. It is focused on the development and commercialization of specialty therapeutics. Cangene's products are sold worldwide and include products that have been accepted into the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile. Cangene has offices in three locations across North America. It operates manufacturing facilities in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Baltimore, Maryland (through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Cangene bioPharma, Inc.) where it produces its own products and undertakes contract manufacturing for a number of customers. Cangene also operates a plasma-collection facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba under the name Cangene Plasma Resources.  Its U.S. sales and marketing office is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  For more information about Cangene, visit the Company's website at www.cangene.com.

About The University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is one of North America's largest public research and teaching institutions, and one of only two Canadian institutions consistently ranked among the world's 40 best universities. UBC is a place that inspires bold, new ways of thinking that have helped make it a national leader in areas as diverse as community service learning, sustainability and research commercialization.  UBC offers more than 50,000 students a range of innovative programs and attracts $550 million per year in research funding from government, non-profit organizations and industry through 7,000 grants.

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SOURCE: Cangene Corporation

For further information:

Francis J. St.Hilaire
Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary
Ph:  (204) 275-4540
Email: fsthilaire@cangene.com