Former GSK and Merieux Executives To Lead Team in Building and Operating Asia's Largest Vaccine Production Facility
TORONTO, Jan. 18 /CNW/ - Microbix Biosystems Inc. (TSX: MBX), a
biotechnology company commercializing novel technologies for influenza
vaccine manufacturing and livestock semen sexing, in addition to a core
business of virology products, today named the management leaders for
the Hunan/Microbix Joint Venture which will build and operate Asia's
largest influenza vaccine production facility. The team will be led by
Chris Baron, CEO, a former GSK and Novartis executive responsible for
international vaccines. Baron also established and led GSK's joint
venture that is now the largest foreign vaccine manufacturer in China.
Jacques-Francois Martin, who will be Chairman, brings 30 years of
worldwide vaccine and pharma management experience to the China
The new CEO, Chris Baron said, "I am delighted and privileged to
participate in this exciting investment in Changsha, China. The health
and economic benefits of influenza vaccination are extremely well
documented globally, and I look forward to working with our partners to
provide Hunan Province self-sufficiency with a truly world class
vaccine. This investment will also further enhance innovation in this
fast growing region of China." Jacques-Francois Martin, the joint
venture's Chairman, said, "I'm proud to be part of what will be the
largest and most far-reaching public health initiative ever in Asia.
It will bring China closer to the WHO guidelines for vaccination."
In December, Microbix announced that the Hunan/Microbix joint venture
will have start-up capital of more than $7 million to begin the
three-phase development of the 120 million-dose influenza vaccine
facility. For Phase 2 the joint venture will require approximately $50
million to build the initial 20 million dose plant. Microbix and Hunan
will jointly raise these funds to complete construction of the
manufacturing facility, and provide material for clinical trials. In
Hunan, Microbix has a committed joint venture partner that has
demonstrated it will manage the local issues to support the success of
the vaccine project.
Microbix, CEO, William J. Gastle, said, "We've combined an outstanding
management team, with strong financial resources and our innovative
vaccine production technology to build the most advanced vaccine
facility in the world. This joint venture will serve public health
needs in China and potentially throughout Asia and will reward Microbix
and its shareholders with strong returns on investment."
Baron and Martin, with their years of vaccine expertise and experience
in China, have already begun recruiting an experienced team of
international vaccine and pharmaceutical managers to the Hunan/Microbix
Joint Venture, including a global supply-chain expert; and a former CEO
of a Chinese pharma company with experience building three large plants
in China, and gaining Chinese regulatory approval for manufacturing and
marketing pharmaceutical products.
Hunan/Microbix Joint Venture Management
Chris Baron, CEO, is a specialist in the international pharmaceutical and vaccines
industry. He has served as Vice President, Global Business Development
for Chiron Vaccines (now Novartis), at that time a business with $800
million in sales and 3,000 employees worldwide. Since leaving Chiron he
has been operating a consulting business advising various companies on
China market entry strategies. Baron had a long career at
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) serving as General Manager in Taiwan, New Zealand
and China respectively. He also led Worldwide Business Development at
GSK Biologicals (based in Belgium) and served as Director, Business
Development, Asia Pacific (based in Singapore). At GSK, Baron led the
team that negotiated and created GSK Biologicals (Shanghai) Limited,
the first foreign equity joint venture in the field of vaccines in
China. He then served as General Manager and Board Director for the
joint venture that is now 100% owned by GSK and is the leading foreign
vaccine manufacturer in China. Baron was also instrumental in GSK's
acquisition of Sachsiche Serum Werke (SSW) - a German flu vaccine
manufacturer based in Dresden that is now GSK's global manufacturing
site for flu vaccines.
Jacques-Francois Martin, Chairman, is former CEO of Pasteur-Mérieux-Connaught (now Sanofi-Pasteur) and Chiron
Vaccines (now Novartis vaccines), and a senior officer in Merieux, once
the global leader in vaccine production. He has served on the boards of
several prestigious national and international medical foundations,
including: the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche
Médicale, (the French National Institute of Health), the International AIDS Vaccine
Initiative (IAVI), and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and
Immunization. He was formerly President and CEO of The Vaccine Fund, a
foundation providing lifesaving vaccines and other immunization program
support to low-income countries. In addition, Dr. Martin was a founding
partner of Pelias AG, a company launched with Intercell and Novartis to
develop vaccines against hospital-associated infections. And, most
recently, Chairman and CEO of Parteurop, a biotech consulting company.
About the Hunan/Microbix Joint Venture
Last year, Microbix announced it signed a joint venture agreement with
the Hunan Biopharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (a Hunan Province state-owned
enterprise) for initial financing to construct Asia's largest influenza
vaccine production facility and the third largest vaccine plant in the
world. The facility, for which construction will begin in 2011 and be
fully operational by 2014, will be designed around Microbix VIRUSMAX™
vaccine technology. More than five years in development at Microbix,
VIRUSMAX is designed to increase influenza vaccine yields and has
demonstrated an average yield increase of two-fold over current
About Microbix Biosystems
Microbix Biosystems Inc. specializes in the development of biological
technologies and commercializing them through global partners. The
Company has intellectual property in large market biotherapeutic drugs,
vaccine technologies and animal reproduction technologies. Established
in 1988, Microbix is headquartered in Toronto.
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
including the risks associated with operations in Foreign
jurisdictions, risks associated with construction generally and with
specialized construction requirements of a influenza vaccine facility,
risks associated with production including control over costs, quality,
quantity and timeliness of delivery of products, foreign currency and
exchange rate risk, and risks of raising capital on acceptable terms or
at all. These forward-looking statements represent the Companies'
judgment as of the date of this press release. The Company disclaims
any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
SOURCE Microbix Biosystems Inc.
For further information:
Visit www.microbix.com or contact: William J. Gastle, CEO, (416) 234-1624 x 230; or James Long, CFO, (416) 234-1624 x 265.