-second generation vaccine expected to be safer to make, with higher yields-
BELLEVILLE, ON, March 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: BNC) (ASX: BNC), a research-based, technology-driven Canadian biopharmaceutical company, today announced that it has received a contribution of up to $500,000 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) for the Company's research and development of a second generation E. coli O157 cattle vaccine. IRAP's support will offset salary costs and contractor fees associated with the project for the next three years.
"We are pleased to receive this funding from IRAP," said Mr. Rick Culbert, President, Bioniche One Health. "We have been working with Dr. Brett Finlay at the University of British Columbia on the development of a second generation E. coli O157 cattle vaccine, which is expected to be safer to make, more readily produced with higher yields than the first generation vaccine, and may have the potential to cross-protect against other E. coli serotypes."
While development of the second generation vaccine continues in coming years, the Company's first generation E. coli O157 cattle vaccine - Econiche® - is fully registered in Canada and is available through Canadian veterinarians. In Australia, although not yet registered, the vaccine is approved for importation. In the UK, the product has received Special Treatment Certificate authorization, allowing veterinary surgeons to use the vaccine on visitor open farms.
Human illnesses stemming from E. coli O157 have been linked to beef products (particularly ground beef), vegetables, fruit, juice, water, and contact with animals at petting zoos, farms, and fairs. Approximately two-thirds of all illnesses are associated with contaminated produce and water or direct contact, while one-third are associated with contaminated beef. When humans are infected with E. coli O157, symptoms begin within 3-10 days. These can range from diarrhea and fever to severe bloody diarrhea to Haemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) and death. Long-term studies following patients infected with E. coli O157 have documented secondary illnesses due to hypertension, cardiovascular and kidney disease as well as arthritis.
Approximately 100,000 cases of human infection with E. coli O157 are reported each year in North America. More than 20,000 of these cases are seen in Canada, where the cost of primary and long-term illnesses has been estimated at $240 million per year.
"There is compelling evidence to show that immunization of cattle against E. coli O157 will reduce the shedding of this deadly pathogen, and several modeling studies have been done to demonstrate that human illness would be reduced as a result of this reduction in shedding," added Mr. Culbert. "Since E. coli O157 does not make cattle ill, the rationale for cattle vaccination is to reduce the amount of E. coli O157 being shed into food, water, and the environment and, in turn, to reduce exposure by people."
The Company will also explore the ability of the second generation vaccine to cross-protect against other E. coli serotypes. Although E. coli O157 is the most common serotype causing human infection in North America, other serotypes, including O26, O111, O103, O121, O45 and O145, have been identified in other jurisdictions.
Both Econiche® and the second generation E. coli O157 vaccine will be produced in the Company's Animal Health and Food Safety Vaccine Manufacturing Centre in Belleville, which is currently undergoing validation to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards for global production. GMP validation is now expected to be completed by summer, 2013.
About Bioniche One Health
Bioniche One Health is responsible for researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing veterinary biopharmaceutical products to improve public health and the environment. The leading initiative for this division has been the development and commercialization of a cattle vaccine to reduce the spread of the E. coli O157 bacterium, which can be deadly to humans. The vaccine - Econiche® - is fully registered in Canada, is approved for importation into Australia, and has received Special Treatment Certificate authorization for UK veterinary surgeons to use on visitor open farms.
About Bioniche Life Sciences Inc.
Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. is a research-based, technology-driven Canadian biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, manufacturing, and marketing of proprietary and innovative products for human and animal health markets worldwide. The fully-integrated company employs more than 200 skilled personnel and has three operating divisions: Human Health, Animal Health, and One Health. The Company's primary goal is to develop and commercialize products that advance human or animal health and increase shareholder value.
For more information, please visit www.Bioniche.com.
Except for historical information, this news release may contain forward-looking statements that reflect the Company's current expectation regarding future events. These forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainties, which may cause, but are 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 quarterly and annual reporting.
SOURCE Bioniche Life Sciences Inc.