Cangene strikes new deal with Apotex; Obtains rights to commercialize certain biotech drugs



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

    TORONTO and WINNIPEG, April 15 /CNW/ - Cangene Corporation today reports
that it has signed a new agreement with its majority shareholder, the Apotex
Group. Since 1995, under an existing agreement, Apotex has funded research and
development of several recombinant biopharmaceutical products at Cangene;
these funding obligations have been satisfied. Under the new agreement,
Cangene obtains rights to commercialize these products, which include
Leucotropin(R), Cangene's version of a white-blood-cell-stimulating protein
known as GM-CSF, and Accretropin(TM), Cangene's human growth hormone. Due to
the extent of Apotex's investment in the two lead drugs, however, both
companies have the right to take Leucotropin(R) or Accretropin(TM) to market
and would pay the other company a small royalty based on any sales.
    "Apotex has played a large role in the development of certain products
over the years, but recently both of us have been increasingly focused on
other areas so it made sense to revise our arrangement. We are now deciding
how best to proceed, if at all, with certain recombinant products that we
currently have in development or others that we are interested in pursuing,"
said Dr. John Langstaff, Cangene's president and CEO.
    Also changed under the new agreement is the royalty revenue that Cangene
currently receives from Apotex on its sales of a product called Ferriprox(R)
(deferiprone). This will be phased out over three fiscal years-Cangene will
continue to receive a royalty equivalent to 50% of the net profits on
deferiprone's sales through 2009, then 37.5% in 2010 and terminating with
18.75% in 2011.
    With the current reduced level of activity related to the non-hyperimmune
protein products at Cangene's biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility, the
Company is scaling back operations related to its own products there. It will,
however, continue evaluating contract-manufacturing opportunities at the
facility. The change will result in some operational restructuring, including
staff reductions.
    Unaffected by this new agreement is Cangene's U.S.-distribution agreement
with Apotex Corp. for Cangene's hyperimmune product, HepaGam B(R); sales of
this product have been growing steadily over the past year.

    About Cangene Corporation

    Cangene is one of Canada's largest and earliest biopharmaceutical
companies. It was founded in 1984 and is headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Cangene has approximately 700 employees in eight locations across North
America and its products are sold worldwide. It operates three large
manufacturing facilities-two in Winnipeg, Manitoba and one in Baltimore,
Maryland-where it produces its own products and undertakes contract
manufacturing for a number of companies. Cangene operates three U.S. and one
Canadian plasma-collection facilities. In addition, it has a regulatory
affairs, sales and investor relations office in Toronto, Ontario.
    Cangene is focused on developing therapeutics for infectious diseases,
and the Company uses patented manufacturing processes to produce
plasma-derived and recombinant therapeutic proteins. Cangene has five FDA
and/or Health Canada-approved products. In addition, the Company has several
more products in development at various stages. Three of Cangene's products
have been accepted into the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile-botulism
antitoxin, anthrax immune globulin and vaccinia immune globulin, a product
used to counteract certain complications that may arise from smallpox
vaccination.
    Capitalizing on its drug manufacturing expertise, Cangene also operates a
significant contract research and manufacturing business using its Winnipeg
facilities and the resources of Baltimore, Maryland-based Chesapeake
Biological Laboratories, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary). Cangene's website,
www.cangene.com, includes product and investor information, including past
news releases. Chesapeake's website is www.cblinc.com.
    "Accretropin", "Cangene", "HepaGam B" and "Leucotropin" are trademarks
belonging to Cangene Corporation. "Ferriprox" is a trademark belonging to the
Apotex Group.

    Forward-looking information

    The reader should be aware that Cangene's businesses are subject to risks
and uncertainties that cannot be predicted or quantified; consequently, actual
results may differ materially from past results and those expressed or implied
by any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to
such risks or uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the regulatory
environment including the difficulty of predicting regulatory outcomes;
changes in the value of the Canadian dollar; the Company's reliance on a small
number of customers including government organizations; the demand for new
products and the impact of competitive products, service and pricing;
availability and cost of raw materials, especially the cost, availability and
antibody concentration in plasma; fluctuations in operating results;
government policies or actions; progress and cost of clinical trials; reliance
on key strategic relationships; costs and possible development delays
resulting from use of legal, regulatory or legislative strategies by the
Company's competitors; uncertainty related to intellectual property protection
and potential costs associated with its defence; the Company's exposure to
lawsuits; and other matters beyond control of management. Risks and
uncertainties are discussed more extensively in the MD&A section of the
Company's most recent annual report and annual information form, which are
available on the Company's website or on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

    Scientific information that relates to unapproved products or unapproved
uses of products is preliminary and investigative. No conclusions can or
should be drawn regarding the safety or efficacy of such products. Only
regulatory authorities can determine whether products are safe and effective
for the uses being investigated. Healthcare professionals are directed to
refer to approved labeling for products and not rely on information presented
in news releases. Drug names and prescribing information may differ in various
countries.

    The cautionary statements referred to above should be considered in
connection with all written or oral statements, especially forward-looking
statements, that are made by the Company or by persons acting on its behalf
and in conjunction with its periodic filings with Securities Commissions,
including those contained in the Company's news releases and most recently
filed annual information form. Forward-looking statements can be identified by
the use of words such as "expects", "plans", "will", "believes", "estimates",
"intends", "may", "bodes" and other words of similar meaning (including
negative and grammatical variations). Should known or unknown risks or
uncertainties materialize, or should management's assumptions prove
inaccurate, actual results could vary materially from those anticipated. The
Company undertakes no obligation to publicly make or update any
forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable law.





For further information:

For further information: about Cangene Corporation, please contact
Michael Graham at (204) 275-4040 or by email at mgraham@cangene.com

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