TORONTO, June 12 /CNW/ - Microbix Biosystems Inc. (TSX:MBX) announced
today that it is has made a significant discovery that takes it a major step
forward in commercializing its animal reproduction technology.
The Company has been able to identify specific proteins that allow
female-producing and male-producing sperm cells to be separated, and has also
developed the monoclonal antibodies that will be used to commercialize this
process. This is the first time that sex-specific proteins have been
positively identified. Microbix has filed a provisional patent on this
The Company's Semen Sexing Technology(TM) (SST(TM)) can ensure the sex of
livestock offspring resulting from artificial insemination. The technology is
significant because livestock producers currently spend billions of dollars
annually on artificial insemination, yet they can end up with animals unsuited
to their particular industry's needs. Dairy farmers, for example, want female
animals for milk production. Beef producers want predominantly male animals
for meat production. Swine producers want female animals for meat. SST(TM) can
ensure that these requirements are met.
This is the second important milestone in the SST(TM) development
program. Microbix obtained this technology through its acquisition of Sequent
Biotechnologies Inc. in September, 2005. Under the terms of that agreement,
Sequent's founders are to receive $3 million in common stock of Microbix,
payment being staged and contingent upon the achievement of certain milestones
that enable entry into the marketplace. With today's announcement, Sequent's
founders have been issued 1,821,862 common shares of Microbix, representing
half of the total potential payment.
The first milestone, reported last year, was the signing of agreements
with a number of artificial insemination (AI) companies based in Europe, North
America and Australasia. These companies represent 13 per cent of the
$2.5 billion global AI market in the commercial livestock industry.
Today, the average price for unsexed dairy semen is about $20. Sexed
semen will garner a premium price of approximately 2 1/2 times the price of
the unsexed product. Microbix will receive a royalty of 15 per cent of sales
in addition to fees for the SST(TM) components.
"On a commercial scale, the market for SST(TM) would be considered a
blockbuster by traditional biotech or pharmaceutical standards. Unlike
biopharmaceutical drug development, however, there is no regulatory process
required to bring a semen sexing product to market. The product will readily
integrate into established AI facilities and procedures," explained Microbix
CEO William J. Gastle.
"This discovery confirms the presence of biological markers specific to
male and female never before known, which can be leveraged for the AI
industry," said Dr. Peter Blecher, a founder of Sequent and Microbix Director.
Established in 1988, 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 Vaccine Enhancement Technology which significantly
boosts the yield of influenza virus from eggs; the thrombolytic drug
Urokinase, being developed for a new therapeutic indications; and the SST(TM)
animal reproduction technology.
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. For
instance, product development may not result in products that can be
commercialized, savings by producers may not reach value estimates or at all
and sales may not reach sales targets or be made at all. Not all suppliers of
dairy semen may convert to a sexed semen product, term sheet agreements may
not lead to definitive agreements between the parties. There is no guarantee
that the Company will complete development of the technology and if it does
that it will perform to the levels projected by the Company. While the Company
is not aware of another technology on the market, or under development, that
can provide the product at competitive pricing levels compared to Microbix'
sexed semen, other technologies may emerge before SST enters the market.
Royalty rates may change subject to the definitive agreement, the markets may
not sustain the premium for sexed product should world economies shift
significantly. Market utilization rates may not be reached. Market value of
products may vary. Patents may not provide adequate protection of the
Company's intellectual property and may be subject to challenge. 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