TORONTO, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - Microbix Biosystems Inc.(TSX: MBX) announced
today that it has been selected by the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS
TDI) in the U.S. to manufacture a series of adenoviruses that will be used in
research aimed at fighting the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS),
often called Lou Gehrig's disease.
The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), based in Cambridge,
Mass., is a leading research organization that works to discover and develop
drugs that are potential treatments for ALS and related disorders such as
Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. "The production of high
titer adenoviral constructs required for animal testing requires specialized
manufacturing expertise that only recognized leaders in the field like
Microbix can deliver," says Steve Perrin, Chief Scientific Officer at the ALS
TDI. "Patients and families should be excited about this collaboration for a
couple of reasons. High quality, high volume manufacturing of gene therapies
will allow us to switch genes on and off at an unprecedented pace. We're
scaling this project to get to the answer no matter how many genes we've got
to modulate. It might be gene 1 or gene 300 that controls the disease so we
need to keep marching until we find it," said Sean Scott, president of ALS
Under the terms of the one-year contract, Microbix will use its
proprietary technology to produce, purify and characterize various
adenoviruses created to carry therapies to sites of ALS pathology. The
preparations will then be returned to the Institute, allowing them to further
their research into this debilitating disease. Adenoviruses are non-pathogenic
viruses that can deliver specifically selected genes to key sites in the body
or to cultured cells for therapeutic purposes.
Approximately 3,000 people in Canada and 30,000 people in the U.S.
currently have ALS, and some 8,000 new cases are diagnosed in North America
each year. ALS is a progressive neuromuscular disease that attacks motor
neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Eighty per cent of people with ALS die
within two to five years of diagnosis - unable to breathe or swallow. There is
currently no cure or effective treatment for ALS.
"We are honoured to have been chosen by the Institute for this critical
component of their program," said William J. Gastle, CEO of Microbix. "This
contract recognizes our leadership position in adenovirus production, and fits
well into our near term plan to expand our core virology business into
Microbix specializes in developing proprietary biological technologies
and commercializing them through global partners. The Company currently has
three large-market technologies at various stages in the product pipeline -
its VIRUSMAX(TM)Technology which significantly boosts the yield of influenza
virus from eggs; Urokinase, a thrombolytic biologic that can be used as a
catheter clearing drug and has potential in new cancer drug combination; and
the Semen Sexing Technology(TM). Established in 1988, Microbix is
headquartered in Toronto.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are subject
to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ
materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. These
forward-looking statements represent the Company's judgment as of the date of
this press release. The Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update
these forward-looking statements.
For further information:
For further information: visit www.microbix.com or contact William J.
Gastle, CEO, Microbix Biosystems Inc., (416) 234-1624 x 230; James Long, CFO,
Microbix Biosystems Inc., (416) 234-1624 x265