Cangene submits bid to U.S. government for acute radiation syndrome RFP and signs licensing agreement with Maxygen for long-acting version of G-CSF

    Listed TSX, Symbol: CNJ

    TORONTO and WINNIPEG, May 7 /CNW/ - Cangene Corporation today announces
that it has submitted a bid to develop a therapeutic for treating acute
radiation syndrome ("ARS") under a request for proposal ("RFP") issued March
13, 2009 by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority
("BARDA") within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Cangene has
concurrently signed an agreement with Maxygen, Inc. (Nasdaq(R): MAXY) giving
Cangene an exclusive option to acquire an exclusive licence to Maxygen's
protein therapeutic called MAXY-G34 for use in treating ARS. Cangene's
submission under the RFP specifies its intention to develop MAXY-G34 for the
ARS indication. MAXY-G34 is a long-acting version of the
white-blood-cell-stimulating protein called granulocyte colony-stimulating
factor or G-CSF, which has dosing characteristics more suited to the ARS
indication than a protein called granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating
factor or GM-CSF that Cangene had also considered developing for this
    Under the agreement with Maxygen, Cangene has paid an up-front fee of
US$0.5 million for the option to obtain an exclusive licence for the product
for the ARS indication. If awarded a development contract under the RFP that
meets certain Cangene criteria, Cangene would exercise its option on MAXY-G34
and pay Maxygen licence fees.
    "We are pleased to be able to couple our submission under the RFP with
this agreement with Maxygen. We believe that MAXY-G34's characteristics and
its level of development have allowed us to submit an effective proposal under
this RFP," said Dr. John Langstaff, Cangene's president and CEO.
    BARDA's RFP solicitation is entitled Advanced Development of Therapeutics
for Treating Neutropenia Resulting from Acute Exposure to Ionizing Radiation
and carries a solicitation number of HHS BARDA No. 09-100-SOL-00005. It
specifies the intention to award a one-year base contract with four, one-year
extension options.

    About MAXY-G34

    MAXY-G34 is a next-generation, long-acting granulocyte colony-stimulating
factor ("G-CSF") that Maxygen has been developing to treat
chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (depletion of neutrophils). G-CSF is a
natural protein that stimulates the body's bone marrow to produce neutrophils,
a specific type of white blood cell, which play an important role in the
defence against bacterial infections. Maxygen uses proprietary technology to
couple G-CSF with a chemical called polyethylene glycol ("PEG") in order to
prolong the duration of its therapeutic activity. Maxygen recently completed a
Phase IIa trial of MAXY-G34 in breast cancer patients. Maxygen is seeking
other partners to develop and commercialize the product for
chemotherapy-induced neutropenia.

    About Maxygen

    Maxygen is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing improved
versions of protein drugs. Maxygen has a MAXY-G34 program, designed to be an
improved long-acting G-CSF for the treatment of neutropenia. Maxygen uses its
proprietary DNA shuffling technology and extensive protein modification
expertise to pursue the creation of biosuperior proteins. For more information
about Maxygen contact Dana Fruehling at 650-298-5300, or visit

    Acute Radiation Syndrome

    ARS is an acute and potentially life-threatening neutropenia caused by
exposure to ionizing radiation over a very short period of time.

    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
    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,, includes product and investor information, including past
news releases. Chesapeake's website is
    "Cangene" is a trademark belonging to Cangene Corporation.

    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
    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
    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.

    %SEDAR: 00002351E

For further information:

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

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