- added to $15 million announced in December -
BELLEVILLE, ON, Feb. 7 /CNW/ - Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: BNC), a
research-based, technology-driven Canadian biopharmaceutical company, today
announced that it has secured a $5 million commercial loan from the Business
Development Bank of Canada (BDC) in support of the scale-up of vaccine
production at its Belleville, Ontario facility.
When combined with the previously announced $10 million in Ontario
government financing through the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade
(MEDT)'s Advanced Manufacturing Investment Strategy (AMIS) and $5 million in
federal government financing through the new Agri-Opportunities Program of the
Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Canada) (AAFC), both announced in
December, 2007, the Company has $20 million of the required financing for
production scale-up over the next two years to provide capacity of 40 million
doses of the E. coli O157:H7 vaccine. This is part of a long-term,
$100 million project to create an Animal Health and Food Safety Vaccine
"We are pleased to have most of the necessary financing now in place to
proceed with the first phase of production scale-up in Belleville," said
Graeme McRae, President & CEO of Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. "The combined
cost of capital is less than 5% for the next five years, followed by extremely
favourable repayment terms. The BDC financing will allow us to kick-start
production scale-up. This is particularly important with the notice this week
by the United States Department of Agriculture that our E. coli O157:H7
vaccine is eligible for a conditional license, providing access to the U.S.
Bioniche has developed the world's first cattle vaccine that may be used
as an on-farm intervention to reduce the amount of E. coli O157:H7 shed by
cattle. This will be the first product manufactured in the scaled-up
production facility in Belleville. The vaccine is unique in that it helps to
reduce shedding of an organism that, while potentially lethal to humans,
causes no disease in cattle. The Company obtained approval to distribute its
vaccine under the Permit to Release Veterinary Biologics regulations by the
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in December, 2006.
It remains very clear that there is a pressing need to reduce the amount
of E. coli O157:H7 shed into the environment by cattle. Food recalls continue
to occur on a regular basis in beef, produce and prepared food. On-farm
interventions to reduce the shedding of E. coli O157:H7 by cattle, such as
vaccination, may assist in reducing the potential for food and water
contamination and the resulting human illnesses and deaths.
Approximately 100,000 cases of human infection with the E. coli O157:H7
organism are reported each year in North America. 2% to 7% of those people
develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a disease characterized by kidney
failure (in recent outbreaks, this percentage has risen to as high as 16%).
Five percent of HUS patients die, many of them children and senior citizens,
whose kidneys are more sensitive to damage.
Beyond consumption of contaminated food or water, individuals can become
infected from E. coli O157:H7 by visiting animal exhibits. Petting zoos,
fairs, and agricultural exhibits provide many possible routes of transmission
for E. coli. Direct animal contact is the obvious route, but contact with
contaminated products (e.g., sawdust, shavings, soiled clothing or shoes) can
also lead to human infection.
The loan from BDC matures in 2018 and bears interest at the BDC floating
rate plus 2%.
About the E. coli O157:H7 Cattle Vaccine
This vaccine received international recognition in September, 2007 by the
Animal Pharm Industry Excellence Awards as the best new veterinary product for
livestock. The vaccine has been developed by a strategic alliance formed in
2000 between the University of British Columbia (UBC), the Alberta Research
Council (ARC), the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine & Infectious Disease
Organization (VIDO), and Bioniche, which holds the rights for worldwide
commercialization of the vaccine. The vaccine prevents the E. coli O157:H7
bacteria from attaching to the intestines of vaccinated cattle, thereby
reducing their reproduction within the animal, and reducing the amount of
bacteria that can be released through cattle manure in the environment. More
than 30,000 cattle have been involved in clinical testing of the vaccine over
the past five years.
About Bioniche Life Sciences Inc.
Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. is a research-based, technology-driven
Canadian biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development,
manufacturing, and marketing of proprietary products for human and animal
health markets worldwide. The fully-integrated company employs approximately
200 skilled personnel and has three operating divisions: Human Health, Animal
Health, and Food Safety. The Company's primary goal is to develop proprietary
cancer therapies supported by revenues from marketed products in human and
animal health. Bioniche has been named one of Canada's Top Ten Life Sciences
Companies for 2008. For more information, please visit www.Bioniche.com.
Except for historical information, this news release may contain
forward-looking statements that reflect the Company's current expectation
regarding future events. These forward-looking statements involve risk and
uncertainties, which may cause, but are not limited to, changing market
conditions, the successful and timely completion of clinical studies, the
establishment of corporate alliances, the impact of competitive products and
pricing, new product development, uncertainties related to the regulatory
approval process, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's
ongoing quarterly and annual reporting.
For further information:
For further information: Jennifer Shea, Corporate Communications,
Investor & Government Relations Director, Bioniche Life Sciences Inc.,
Telephone: (613) 966-8058, Cell: (613) 391-2097, Jennifer.Shea@Bioniche.com