New intellectual property strengthens shareholders' exclusive access to
the global livestock AI industry
TORONTO, April 7 /CNW/ - Microbix Biosystems Inc. (MBX:TSX) announced
today that the Company is proceeding to submit a new patent application, based
on discoveries arising from its extensive work on the Semen Sexing Technology
The new technology represents a significant departure from other methods
to separate sperm cells by sex, and will potentially provide the Company with
a further entrée into the global Artificial Insemination (AI) industry. The
technology affords shareholders a strong and exclusive intellectual property
position and a simplified path through development and commercialization. The
Company does not anticipate significant further research-phase investment in
SST, and anticipates the ability to focus exclusively on development and
commercialization activities with timelines determined accordingly.
"In the high risk world of biotech R&D, this is a success by any
standard," said Microbix Chief Executive Officer William J. Gastle. "New
intellectual property, in a large market, with a significant competitive
advantage, are all criteria to be met when creating shareholder value. That is
what we have done here."
The worldwide AI market is over $ 2.5 billion and Microbix estimates that
sexed semen will garner a premium price of about 2.5 times the price of
unsexed semen product. The Company's previous estimate of royalties of 15% of
sales remains unchanged with the new technology. A number of AI companies
representing 13% of the market have already agreed to participate in field
The acquisition of the initial protein-based technology and assets from
Sequent Biotechnologies in 2005 gave Microbix a significant lead in
understanding the structural differences between X and Y chromosome-bearing
bovine sperm. In June 2007 the Company reported having identified specific
proteins and associated monoclonal antibodies that differentiated these cells,
and the Company submitted a provisional patent on the discovery.
Subsequent work led to the recognition that the family of proteins
required additional investigation. In a release in February 2008 the Company
announced expansion of the SST development program to fully evaluate proteins
to respectively characterize X and Y chromosome-bearing sperm. New
state-of-the-art technologies were brought to bear on the analysis and the
commercial potential of these discoveries. We have now completed this work and
our evaluation of the proteins has not pointed to a commercial utility thus
However, this work has led to the discovery of a lower risk and
commercially attractive next generation technology to achieve the same
objective. Accordingly, broad patent claims protecting this technology are
being filed. Field trials demonstrating the commercial application of this
next-generation technology are expected to occur pending financing. The
Company will provide an updated guidance on the timeline.
"The Scientific Advisory Committee has conducted a thorough review of all
the results and methodologies associated with this program," said Dr. Mark A.
Cochran, Chair of the committee. "We are very confident that the data
generated strengthen the technological position of Microbix for the next phase
of the work."
"The extensive scientific review we have undertaken has clearly concluded
that we have met the research objectives of the SST program," said Mr. Gastle.
"Product development now moves in a new direction to complete the commercial
delivery platform for the AI industry."
Microbix 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
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
livestock semen may convert to a sexed semen product, term sheet agreements
already signed 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' proposed sexed semen product, 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 for 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: William J. Gastle, CEO, Microbix Biosystems
Inc., (416) 234-1624 x 230; or James Long, CFO, Microbix Biosystems Inc.,
(416) 234-1624 x 265