Patent on the freezing of sexed semen falls
TORONTO, May 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Microbix Biosystems Inc. (TSX:MBX), a biotechnology company developing a pipeline of innovative biological technologies and products including LumiSort® sperm sexing technology, received an announcement yesterday from the European Patent Office that the "Frozen sperm/XY" patent has been revoked by its Technical Board of Appeal.
The patent, EP1257168, was one of a family of closely related patents held in several countries by Inguran LLC (doing business as Sexing Technologies LLC and XY LLC) relating to the use of cryopreservation technology for sperm cells sorted into sex-selected populations. It was challenged in Europe by opponents including Greenpeace e.V. and Member of the European Parliament Mrs. Hiltrud Breyer. Microbix participated in the opposition proceedings through the direct submission of third-party observations regarding the validity of the patent.
William J. Gastle, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, reflected on the European decision. "Microbix has maintained that the Freezing Patent was not a significant or valid obstacle to the entry of LumiSort sexed semen into the artificial insemination industry," said Gastle. "Our participation in the European action allowed us to support the determination that the Inguran Freezing Patent is invalid in Europe, and our belief that similar determinations will be made elsewhere. This decision confirms our belief that there are no barriers to marketing sexed semen and will send a strong signal to the industry that LumiSort will come to market."
Cryopreservation of sperm cells is a technology that has been practiced in the artificial insemination industry for over 50 years. By maintaining the long-term viability and fertility of cells in the frozen state, cryopreservation technology has enabled the growth of a global artificial insemination industry for the dairy and beef sectors in excess of $1.5 billion annually.
Microbix is currently developing LumiSort, a next-generation instrument-based (cytometric) technology, for the preparation of sex-selected sperm cell preparations. LumiSort will provide the artificial insemination industry with a 3-fold increase in sperm cell yield and a 10-fold increase in the speed of production, while increasing the fertility of the sexed sperm cell product. Further information on LumiSort technology is available at http://lumisort.com.
About Microbix Biosystems Inc.
Microbix Biosystems Inc. specializes in the development of the most advanced vaccine production technology and markets virology and biological products worldwide. The Company has intellectual property in large market biotherapeutic drugs, vaccine technologies and animal reproduction technologies. Microbix supplies customers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. 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 commercializing the technologies, including sales which may not reach sales targets or be made at all, there is no guarantee that the Company will complete development of any technology and if it does that it will perform to commercially exploitable levels, other technologies may emerge before any technology developed by the Company enters the market, royalty rates may not be achievable, markets may not sustain demand for any product should world economies shift significantly, market utilization rates may not be reached, market value of products may vary, product launch dates and market utilization timetables may not be met; risks associated with the ability to license LumiSort to industry; risks associated with failure to develop and commercialize LumiSort; non-adoption of LumiSort; competition in the animal health and related markets; reliance by Microbix on third parties for the development and manufacture of LumiSort instrument; general economic conditions; intellectual property risks including challenges to protecting the Company's intellectual property rights, patents may not provide adequate protection of the Company's intellectual property, may not be successfully prosecuted and may be subject to challenge and risks of infringement of third party rights; risks of operating in foreign jurisdictions, including operating in countries with evolving legal and economic infrastructure; high rates of inflation; changes in taxation policies, and Microbix' ability to attract and retain qualified employees and management. 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:
Visit www.microbix.com or contact: William J. Gastle, CEO, (416) 234-1624 x 230; or James Long, CFO, (416) 234-1624 x 265.