Helix BioPharma reports Q2 2008 highlights, financial results



    AURORA, ON, March 10 /CNW/ - Helix BioPharma Corp. (TSX, FSE: "HBP")
today reported its highlights and financial results for the three and six
months ended January 31, 2008.

    
    HIGHLIGHTS

    The Company's highlights for the quarter included:

    -   The signing of an agreement with KBI BioPharma for the development of
        a clinical packaging format for L-DOS47, Helix's therapeutic
        candidate for lung adenocarcinoma;

    -   The strengthening of the Company's cash position with the completion
        of a CDN$16.9 million private placement of common shares on
        December 19, 2007; and

    -   A shareholder vote in favor of management at the annual general
        meeting on January 29, 2008.
    

    "We have a solid base on which we can continue the advancement of our
lead clinical compounds," said John Docherty, President of Helix BioPharma.
"Recent developments include our receipt of positive Phase II data for our
Topical Interferon Alpha-2b, the preparation of a format of L-DOS47 that is
suitable for clinical testing, and the strengthening of our balance sheet. We
are currently developing plans for Topical Interferon in an expanded patient
population and we are anticipating L-DOS47 entering the clinic in a Phase I
study."

    RESULTS FROM OPERATIONS

    Three and six months ended January 31, 2008, compared to same periods in
    previous year

    Total revenue was negatively impacted by lower sales of Orthovisc(R) in
Canada for both the three and six month periods ended January 31, 2008.
Overall expenditures were lower in the second quarter ended January 31, 2008
and is mainly attributable to higher costs in the same period a year ago,
associated with the Company's annual shareholder meeting. On a year-to-date
basis, overall expenditures were marginally lower, with the one-time charge in
the first quarter of fiscal 2008 related to the resignation of the Company's
Chairman being more than offset by the previous fiscal year's cost associated
with the Company's annual shareholder meeting.

    Loss for the period

    The Company recorded a loss of $1,526,000 and $3,170,000, respectively,
for the three and six month periods ended January 31, 2008, for a loss per
common share of $0.04 and $0.08, respectively. In the comparative three and
six month periods ended January 31, 2007, the Company recorded a loss
$1,900,000 and $3,242,000, respectively, for a loss per common share of $0.05
and $0.09, respectively.

    Revenues

    Total revenues for the three month period ended January 31, 2008 was
$791,000, compared to revenues of $892,000 for the same period last year. This
represents a decrease of $101,000, or 11.3%. Total revenues for the six month
period ended January 31, 2008, was $1,676,000, compared to $1,718,000 a year
ago. This represents a decrease of $42,000, or 2.4%.

    Product Revenue

    Product revenue totaled $652,000 and $1,406,000, respectively, for the
three and six month periods ended January 31, 2008 and represent a decrease of
$105,000 (13.9%) and $47,000 (3.2%), respectively, when compared to same
periods last year. Higher revenues from the sale of Klean-Prep(TM) in Canada
were not sufficient to offset lower revenues from the sale of Orthovisc(R) in
the three and six month periods ended January 31, 2008.

    License Fees and Royalty Revenue

    License fees and royalties totaled $139,000 and $270,000, respectively,
for the three and six month periods ended January 31, 2008, and represent a
slight increase of $4,000 (3.0%) and $5,000 (1.9%), respectively, when
compared to same periods a year ago. The license fees and royalties for both
the three and six month periods ended January 31, 2008, and 2007 are comprised
solely of royalties related to sales of Klean-Prep(TM) outside of Canada.

    Cost of sales and margins

    Cost of sales totaled $269,000 and $582,000, respectively, for the three
and six month periods ended January 31, 2008, compared to $310,000 and
$600,000, respectively, for the same periods last year. Margins, on percentage
basis, have remained relatively stable in both the three and six month periods
ended January 31, 2008, when compared to 2007.

    Research & development

    Research & development costs for the three and six month periods ended
January 31, 2008, totaled $1,029,000 and $1,811,000, respectively, compared to
$1,065,000 and $1,973,000, respectively, a year ago. In the three and six
month periods ended January 31, 2008, research & development expenditures for
both L-DOS47 and Topical Interferon Alpha2-b were less than in the same
periods a year ago, with the majority of the lower research and development
expenditures related to L-DOS47.
    The reduction in research and development expenditures for L-DOS47 in the
period were related to the various stages of completion associated with the
multiple projects within the L-DOS47 program. Helix intends to seek approval
in 2008 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") for a Phase I
clinical study in lung adenocarcinoma patients and, therefore, is currently
advancing its L-DOS47 scale-up manufacturing program in anticipation of
furnishing product for the clinical trial.
    Research and development expenditures related to the Phase II trial in
Sweden for ano-genital warts ("AGW") were more than offset by the reduction in
costs associated with the Phase II study in Germany for women with
precancerous, HPV induced low-grade cervical lesions.
    The late-stage Phase II study in Germany was completed during the six
month period ended January 31, 2007. Based on the positive findings, the
Company is currently developing plans for a large, randomized,
placebo-controlled double-blind study to evaluate the product in an expanded
patient population in addition to preparatory work in anticipation of
Investigational New Drug ("IND") and Clinical Trial Application ("CTA")
filings in the U.S. and Europe, respectively, in 2008.
    Research and development expenditures related to the Phase II trial in
Sweden are below the Company's original projections. This is attributable to a
lower patient enrollment rate. Helix is currently in discussion with the
regulatory authorities in Sweden as it relates to a protocol amendment put
forth by the Company to restore the recruitment rate to the original
projections that forecasted patient enrollment to be completed by the end of
the 2008 calendar year. In order to achieve the enrollment completion timeline
previously projected, the Company will have to expand the trial to other
jurisdictions and multiple sites and, therefore, incur additional costs.
    With the recent private placement, the Company is now in a better
position to expedite the commercialization of its new drug candidates and
expects research and development expenditures to increase in the latter half
of fiscal 2008 and into fiscal 2009.

    Operating, general & administration

    Operating, general & administration expenses totaled $1,245,000 and
$2,558,000, respectively, for the three and six month periods ended
January 31, 2008, compared to $1,578,000 and $2,447,000, respectively for the
same periods a year ago. Lower operating, general and administration expenses
for the three month period ended January 31, 2008, were mainly the result of
lower costs associated with the Company's annual shareholder meeting held on
January 29, 2008. These costs were offset by additional costs incurred for
wages, audit and consultancy services in the quarter.
    For the six month period ended January 31, 2008, operating, general and
administration expenses were marginally higher, with higher wages, audit and
consultancy services along with a one-time charge in the first quarter of
fiscal 2008 related to the resignation of the Company's then Chairman being
partially offset by lower costs for the Company's annual shareholder meeting.

    Amortization of intangible and capital assets

    Amortization of capital assets in the three and six month period ended
January 31, 2008, totaled $63,000 and $129,000, respectively, compared to
$73,000 and $150,000, respectively, a year ago. Capital asset purchases were
minimal in the six month period ended January 31, 2008.
    Amortization of intangible assets in the three and six month periods
ended January 31, 2008, totaled $3,000 and $10,000, respectively, compared to
$39,000 and $79,000, respectively, a year ago. The variance is due to certain
intangible assets that have now been fully amortized.

    Stock-based compensation

    Stock-based compensation expense in the three and six month periods ended
January 31, 2008, totaled $12,000 and $24,000, respectively, compared to
$12,000 and $24,000, respectively, a year ago. The stock-based compensation
expense relates to the ongoing amortization of compensation costs of stock
options granted on June 30, 2005, over their vesting period.

    Interest income

    Interest income in the three and six months ended January 31, 2008,
totaled $181,000 and $285,000, respectively, compared to $142,000 and
$244,000, respectively, a year ago.

    Foreign exchange loss

    The Company realized foreign exchange gains in the three and six month
periods ended January 31, 2008, of $153,000 and $45,000, respectively,
compared to $172,000 and $127,000, respectively, last year. The net assets in
Europe consist mainly of cash and cash equivalents that are denominated in
Euros and used to fund clinical trials in Europe.

    Income taxes

    Income tax expense in the three and six months ended January 31, 2008
totaled $30,000 and $62,000, respectively, compared to $29,000 and $58,000,
respectively, a year ago. All income taxes are attributable to the Company's
operations in Europe.

    CASH FLOW

    Operating activities

    For the three month periods ended January 31, 2008 and 2007, cash used in
operating activities totaled $1,073 and $1,330, respectively. The decrease in
cash used in operating activities was mainly the result of lower costs
associated with the Company's annual shareholder meeting held on January 29,
2008.
    For the six month period ended January 31, 2008, cash used in operations
was relatively unchanged compared to the six months ended January 31, 2007.

    Financing activities

    Financing activities in each of the three and six month periods ended
January 31, 2008 were $14,614,000, compared to nil and $6,480,000,
respectively, a year ago. All financing activities related to separate private
placements in the given periods.

    Investing activities

    Use of cash in investing activities for the three and six month periods
ended January 31, 2008, as well as the three month period ended a year ago,
totaled $9,000, $59,000 and $11,000, respectively. For the six month period
last year, investing activities were a source of cash totaling $6,614,000 of
which $6,640,000 represented a redemption of short-term investments. Excluding
the redemption of short-term investments, all use of funds in investing
activities represented capital acquisitions in the particular period. When
appropriate, the Company maintains excess funds in short-term investments and
redeems these funds as required for its daily operating requirements.

    LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RE

SOURCES Since inception, the Company has financed its operations from public and private sales of equity, the exercise of warrants and stock options, interest income on funds available for investment, government grants, investment tax credits, and revenues from distribution, licensing and contract services. Because the Company does not have net earnings from its operations, the Company's long-term liquidity depends on its ability to access the capital markets, which depends substantially on the Company's ongoing research and development programs. At January 31, 2008, the Company had cash and cash equivalents totaling $23,263,000, compared to $11,379,000 at July 31, 2007. The increase in cash and cash equivalents is the result of a private placement completed on December 19, 2007, when the Company issued 10,040,000 common shares for gross proceeds totaling $16,867,200. The total number of common shares issued as of January 31, 2008, was 46,375,335, compared to 36,335,335 in the same period last year. At January 31, 2008, the Company's working capital was $23,016,000, compared to $11,468,000 at July 31, 2007. After taking into consideration the Company's anticipated revenue, planned research and development expenditures and the assumption that there will not be unanticipated expenses, the Company expects that its current working capital will be sufficient to finance operations beyond the 2010 fiscal year. The Company will continue to seek additional funding, primarily by way of equity offerings, to carry out its business plan and to minimize risks to its operations. The market, however, for equity financings for companies such as Helix is challenging, and there can be no assurance that additional funding by way of equity financing will be available. The failure of the Company to obtain additional funding on a timely basis may result in the Company reducing or delaying one or more of its planned research, development and marketing programs and reducing related personnel, any of which could impair the current and future value of the business. Any additional equity financing, if secured, may result in significant dilution to the existing shareholders at the time of such financing. The Company may also seek additional funding from other sources, including technology licensing, co-development collaborations and other strategic alliances, which, if obtained, may reduce the Company's interest in its projects or products. There can be no assurance, however, that any alternative sources of funding will be available. The Company's unaudited interim consolidated balance sheet as at January 31, 2008, and audited consolidated balance sheet as at July 31, 2007, are summarized below: ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Consolidated Balance Sheets as at ($ thousands) (audited) 31-Jan 31-Jul 2008 2007 ------------------ Current assets: Cash and cash equivalents 23,263 11,379 Accounts receivable 620 902 Inventory 674 539 Prepaid and other 77 187 ------------------ 24,634 13,007 Non current assets 1,333 1,266 ------------------ 25,967 14,273 ------------------ ------------------ Current liabilities: Accounts payable 923 565 Accrued liabilities 695 974 ------------------ 1,618 1,539 Shareholders' equity 24,349 12,734 ------------------ 25,967 14,273 ------------------ ------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Company's unaudited interim Consolidated Statements of Operations and Cash Flows for the three and six month periods ended January 31, 2008 and 2007 are summarized below: ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Consolidated Statements of Operations for the three and six month periods ended January 31, 2008 and 2007 (thousand $, except for per share data) Three months Six months ended January 31 ended January 31 2008 2007 2008 2007 -------------------------------------- Revenue: Product revenue 652 757 1,406 1,453 License fees and royalties 139 135 270 265 Research and development contracts - - - - -------------------------------------- 791 892 1,676 1,718 Expenses: Cost of sales 269 310 582 600 Research and development 1,029 1,065 1,811 1,973 Operating, general and admin 1,245 1,578 2,558 2,447 Amortization of capital assets 63 73 129 150 Amortization of intangible assets 3 39 10 79 Stock-based compensation 12 12 24 24 Interest income, net (181) (142) (285) (244) Foreign exchange loss (153) (172) (45) (127) -------------------------------------- 2,287 2,763 4,784 4,902 Loss before income taxes (1,496) (1,871) (3,108) (3,184) Income taxes 30 29 62 58 -------------------------------------- Loss for the period (1,526) (1,900) (3,170) (3,242) -------------------------------------- -------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Loss per share: Basic (0.04) (0.05) (0.08) (0.09) Diluted (0.04) (0.05) (0.08) (0.09) ------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the three and six month periods ended January 31, 2008 and 2007 (thousand $) Three months Six months ended January 31 ended January 31 2008 2007 2008 2007 -------------------------------------- Cash provided by (used in): Loss for the period (1,526) (1,900) (3,170) (3,242) Items not involving cash: Amortization of capital assets 63 73 129 150 Amortization of intangibles 3 39 10 79 Stock-based compensation 12 12 24 24 Foreign exchange loss (153) (172) (45) (127) -------------------------------------- (1,601) (1,948) (3,052) (3,116) Change in non-cash working capital 528 618 336 358 -------------------------------------- Operating activities (1,073) (1,330) (2,716) (2,758) Financing activities 14,614 - 14,614 6,480 Investing activities (9) (11) (59) 6,614 Effect of exchange rate changes on cash 153 172 45 127 -------------------------------------- Increase in cash 13,685 (1,169) 11,884 10,463 Cash: Beginning of the period 9,578 16,024 11,379 4,392 -------------------------------------- End of the period 23,263 14,855 23,263 14,855 -------------------------------------- -------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Company's unaudited interim consolidated financial statements and management's discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations have been filed today with Canadian securities regulatory authorities and will be available at SEDAR at www.sedar.com. About Helix BioPharma Corp. Helix BioPharma Corp. is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the field of cancer therapy. The Company is actively developing innovative products for the prevention and treatment of cancer based on its proprietary technologies. Helix's product development initiatives include its Topical Interferon Alpha-2b and its novel L-DOS47 new drug candidate. Helix is listed on the TSX under the symbol "HBP". The Toronto and Frankfurt Stock Exchanges have not reviewed and do not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of the content of this News Release. Reported financial information may not necessarily be indicative of future operating results or of future financial position, due to a number of risks and uncertainties, including those set forth below. This News Release contains certain forward-looking statements and information regarding the Company's activities and finances, which statements and information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "future", "anticipation", "planned", "expects", "continue", "developing", or variations thereon, or comparable terminology referring to future events or results. Forward looking statements and information are statements and information about the future and are inherently uncertain. Helix's actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements and information as a result of numerous risks and uncertainties including without limitation: uncertainty whether Topical Interferon Alpha-2b or L-DOS47 will be successfully developed and commercialized as a drug or at all; the need for additional clinical trials, the occurrence and success of which cannot be assured; product liability and insurance risks; research and development risks, the risk of technical obsolescence; the need for further regulatory approvals, which may not be obtained in a timely matter or at all; intellectual property risks; marketing/manufacturing and partnership/strategic alliance risks; the effect of competition; uncertainty of the size and existence of a market opportunity for Helix's products; as well as a description of other risks and uncertainties affecting Helix and its business, as contained in news releases and filings with the Canadian Securities Regulatory Authorities, including its latest Annual Information Form, at www.sedar.com, any of which could cause actual results to vary materially from current results or Helix's anticipated future results. Forward-looking statements and information are based on the beliefs, opinions and expectations of Helix's management at the time they are made, and Helix does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statement or information should those beliefs, opinions or expectations, or other circumstances change, except as required by law.

For further information:

For further information: Investor Relations, Christina Bessant, The
Equicom Group Inc., Tel: (416) 815-0700 ext. 269, (800) 385-5451, Fax: (416)
815-0080, Email: cbessant@equicomgroup.com; Media Relations, David Schull,
Russo Partners LLC, Tel: (212) 845-4271, Fax: (212) 845-4260, Email:
david.schull@russopartnersllc.com, www.russopartnersllc.com

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HELIX BIOPHARMA CORP.

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