SemBioSys appoints former Esperion Officer to Board of Directors

    TSX symbol: SBS

    CALGARY, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - SemBioSys Genetics Inc. (TSX:SBS), a
biotechnology company developing a portfolio of therapeutic proteins for
metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, today announced that Oye Olukotun, MD,
MPH, FACC, FAHA, has agreed to join the Board of Directors of the Company.
Dr. Olukotun is the co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of VIA
Pharmacueticals (NASDAQ:   VIAP) a company focused on cardiovascular disease
treatments. He will replace Dr. Douglass Given, who is retiring from the Board
of SemBioSys after serving for seven years.
    Dr. Olukotun is a Board Certified Cardiologist with more than twenty-five
years of experience in clinical research and drug development in the
pharmaceutical industry. He formerly served as Chief Medical Officer at
Esperion Therapeutics, Inc., a company that was developing Apo AIMilano as a
cardiovascular therapy, until its acquisition by Pfizer in 2004. SemBioSys has
recently demonstrated commercial levels of native Apo AI and Apo AIMilano
production in safflower and is currently preparing to conduct animal studies
to establish the functional equivalence of plant-produced Apo AI and Apo
AIMilano to serum derived HDL.
    "The recruitment of Dr. Olukotun to the Board demonstrates our commitment
and belief in the potential of safflower-produced Apo AI and Apo AIMilano to
address the cost, capacity and process challenges of manufacturing Apo AI with
traditional fermentation-based production systems," said Richard Smith,
Chairman of the Board of Directors of SemBioSys. "Dr. Olukotun's extensive
experience and expertise in the development of cardiovascular therapies,
including his time with Esperion, is a great skill set to bring to the
Company. Based on his knowledge of the Apo AI landscape, it is a great
compliment to our team and technology that he has chosen to join SemBioSys. At
the same time, on behalf of the company, I would like to thank Douglass for
his consummate professionalism, advice and service to SemBioSys over the past
seven years."
    Dr. Olukotun has published more than forty articles in peer-reviewed
scientific journals. He received his MD degree from Albert Einstein College of
Medicine and obtained a MPH degree from Harvard University School of Public
Health. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology as well as the
American Heart Association. Dr. Olukotun was employed for fourteen years at
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, where he served as Vice President of two
divisions focused on cardiovascular research, and was involved in the clinical
development of several cardiovascular and lipid-regulating agents.

    About Apo AI

    Apo AI is a developmental-stage cardiovascular therapy, designed to
rapidly stabilize and diminish atherosclerotic plaque for the prevention and
treatment of cardiovascular disease. Apo AI is the major apolipoprotein
associated with HDL, commonly referred to as "good cholesterol", which
naturally removes plaque from arteries. Apo AIMilano is a natural variant of
native human Apo AI characterized by a single amino acid substitution in its
primary structure. Epidemiological data suggests Apo AIMilano confers enhanced
resistance to atherosclerosis and may offer clinical potential in the
treatment of cardiovascular disease.
    In a six week clinical trial, Esperion Therapeutics (acquired by Pfizer
in 2004) demonstrated that its Apo AIMilano variant / phospholipid formulation
could reduce plaque volume at a level and speed of atherosclerotic regression
unattainable with any current drug therapy. Similarly, both CSL Limited and
Borean Pharma A/S have more recently confirmed the strong therapeutic
potential of their respective Apo AI-based drug candidates (CSL-111 and
Trimeric Apo A-I) in clinical and preclinical trials.
    High dosing (up to 20 grams per course of treatment) coupled with a large
patient population is expected to drive volume demand of several tonnes of Apo
AI per year, underscoring the value of a highly scalable plant manufacturing

    About SemBioSys Genetics Inc. (

    Calgary, Alberta-based SemBioSys Genetics Inc. is a biotechnology company
developing protein-based pharmaceuticals for metabolic and cardiovascular
diseases. The Company's lead pharmaceutical candidates, produced in the plant
host safflower, are recombinant human insulin to serve the rapidly expanding
global diabetes market and Apo AI, a next generation cardiovascular drug. In
addition to its pharmaceutical products, SemBioSys is developing a series of
non-pharmaceutical products addressing human topical, nutritional oils and
animal health markets.

    This press release contains certain forward-looking statements,
including, without limitation, statements containing the words "believe",
"may", "plan", "will", "estimate", "continue", "anticipate", "intend",
"expect" and other similar expressions which constitute "forward-looking
information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws.
Forward-looking statements reflect the Company's current expectation and
assumptions, and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could
cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. These
forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties including, but not
limited to, changing market conditions, the successful and timely completion
of clinical studies, the establishment of corporate alliances, the impact of
competitive products and pricing, new product development, uncertainties
related to the regulatory approval process and other risks detailed from
time-to-time in the Company's ongoing filings with the Canadian securities
regulatory authorities which filings can be found at Given
these risks and uncertainties, readers are cautioned not to place undue
reliance on such forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no
obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements either
as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required
by applicable Canadian securities laws.

    %SEDAR: 00020947E

For further information:

For further information: SemBioSys Genetics Inc., Mr. Andrew Baum,
President and Chief Executive Officer, Phone: (403) 717-8767, Fax: (403)
250-3886, E-mail:, Internet:; Investor
Relations, Ross Marshall, The Equicom Group Inc., Phone: (416) 815-0700 (Ext.
238), Fax: (416) 815-0080, E-mail:

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