TORONTO, Aug. 13 /CNW/ - Microbix Biosystems Inc. (TSX:MBX) is
establishing a Special Workgroup for Applied Technology Transfer (SWATT) that
will be instrumental in helping manufacturers significantly boost the amount
of flu vaccine produced throughout the world.
The SWATT team will be sent to facilities adopting the Microbix
proprietary virus yield enhancement technology - VIRUSMAX(TM). The team is
expected to be operational this Fall. It will spend several weeks in each
location helping customers implement the technology and training local
At present, only about 350 million doses of flu vaccine are produced
annually in the world. There are only three countries that produce enough
vaccine domestically to immunize their populations - Canada, France, and
Australia. Every other country lacks the manufacturing capacity to meet its
own needs. The largest domestic deficits are the U.S., China and India.
(millions) annual vaccine doses(millions)
Canada 30 35
France 60 80
Australia 25 25
U.S. 305 90
China 1,320 15
India 1,130 0
Microbix' technology has been proven to double vaccine production output.
That means that 700 million doses could be produced worldwide if every vaccine
manufacturer adopted VIRUSMAX(TM). Microbix conservatively estimates that the
world market for VIRUSMAX(TM) could be more than $100 million a year.
It was also announced today that Australia has indicated that it will
issue a patent on this technology to Microbix. Similar patent protection has
already been allowed in the U.S., Canada and India, and a number of other
applications in major markets are currently pending.
VIRUSMAX(TM) works by increasing the virus yield from eggs. Manufacturers
use chicken eggs to incubate flu viruses which are then used in the production
of vaccines, but much of the virus is attached to debris which is routinely
discarded. Microbix has discovered how to retrieve this material and recover
the virus, thereby boosting yield.
"Our technology can be installed very quickly, and with limited capital
costs, into existing manufacturing processes," said William J. Gastle, CEO of
Microbix. "We have the ability to ramp up global vaccine production in a short
period of time. That will be especially critical in a pandemic situation."
The World Health Organization, in its Global Vaccine Action Plan,
supports the adoption of yield enhancement technology. Among all the
strategies outlined, the WHO identified increased production yields as "the
most direct mechanism to make more doses available." The WHO estimates that
world demand of flu vaccine will increase 20 times the normal requirements if
a pandemic occurs.
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 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).
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 such as the
risks associated with licensing the technology to vaccine manufacturers. 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, (416) 234-1624 x 230; Robert Stephens, PR
POST, (416) 777-0368