iBio, Inc. and GE Healthcare form new global alliance
Companies to commercialize plant-based technologies for biopharmaceutical and vaccine manufacture
Innovative approach offers potential to reduce costs, increase manufacturing flexibility
NEWARK, Del. and CHALFONT ST GILES, England, July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- iBio, Inc. (NYSE MKT: IBIO), and GE Healthcare, the healthcare business of GE (NYSE: GE), announced today a new global alliance to commercialize plant-based technologies for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals and vaccines. The alliance builds on the existing development and marketing agreement between the two companies announced in 2010 and combines iBio's innovative plant-based vaccine manufacturing platform, iBioLaunch™, with GE Healthcare's world-class capabilities in start-to-finish technologies for biopharmaceutical manufacturing. iBio's research and development collaborator, Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology (CMB) will continue to play a key role in advancing the iBioLaunch platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The iBioLaunch platform is a proprietary gene expression technology that induces plants to rapidly produce high levels of proteins such as vaccines, in a process which can be easily and reliably scaled-up in low cost, controlled-growth facilities. GE Healthcare develops and produces world-class start-to-finish technologies and tools used for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, vaccines and other protein-based therapeutics. GE Healthcare's global team of bioengineers and bioprocessing scientists are working with researchers from iBio and CMB to develop a single, flexible facility which could significantly reduce the capital and operating costs of biotherapeutic and vaccine manufacture compared with traditional animal cell and microbial based methods. The iBioLaunch platform also has the potential to manufacture proteins which cannot be commercially produced in any other system.
Worldwide demand for biopharmaceuticals and vaccines is increasing dramatically, driven by ageing populations and the global effort to reduce the incidence of vaccine preventable diseases. In work funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, iBio's pioneering plant-based technology has been used to produce an avian influenza vaccine candidate that recently completed a successful Phase I clinical trial. The iBioLaunch platform was also used to produce a candidate vaccine against H1N1 influenza, for which a human Phase I trial was successfully completed in March, 2012. The alliance between the two companies aligns with GE's healthymagination initiative, which focuses on reducing cost, increasing access and improving quality in healthcare.
"We're delighted to form this new global alliance with iBio, who share our vision of bringing affordable and flexible manufacturing capabilities to the producers of these vital, lifesaving medicines. We look forward to continuing our work with the talented teams at iBio and CMB to explore how this innovative technology could become a commercial reality," said Olivier Loeillot General Manager of Enterprise Solutions at GE Healthcare Life Sciences.
Robert B. Kay, Chairman and CEO of iBio, added, "We are delighted to be extending our alliance with GE Healthcare. We look forward to working together on the development of a flexible and cost-effective plant-based manufacturing platform that has the potential to assist in the global effort to increase access to biotherapeutics and help reduce the incidence of vaccine preventable diseases."
Commenting on the alliance, Dr. Vidadi Yusibov, Executive Director of CMB, said, "We are pleased to continue and extend our relationship with iBio and GE Healthcare. The collective experience and skills of the teams at CMB, iBio and GE Healthcare combined with CMB's cutting edge pilot facilities in Delaware gives us a great opportunity to accelerate the implementation of this technology."
About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems. Our "healthymagination" vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality around the world. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at www.gehealthcare.com.
About iBio, Inc.
iBio develops and offers product applications of its iBioLaunch™ platform, providing collaborators full support for turn-key implementation of its technology for both proprietary and biosimilar products. The iBioLaunch platform is a proprietary, transformative technology for development and production of biologics using transient gene expression in unmodified green plants. Advantages over other systems include: success with proteins difficult or impossible to produce with other methods; broadly applicable to biologics, including monoclonal antibodies, other therapeutic proteins and vaccines; enables rapid development and validation of modular, scalable, and optionally robotic, multi-product manufacturing facilities; production time measured in weeks instead of months or more. Additional benefits include a practically unlimited surge capacity for remedial action against bioterrorism and pandemic disease; product entry that is unconstrained by traditional process patents, and significantly lower capital and operating costs for comparable production. The iBioModulator™ platform is complementary to the iBioLaunch platform and enables significantly improved vaccine products with higher potency and greater duration of effect. Further information is available at: www.ibioinc.com.
About Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology (CMB)
Fraunhofer USA CMB, a division of Fraunhofer USA, Inc., is a not-for-profit research organization whose mission is to develop safe and effective vaccines targeting infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders. The Center conducts research in the area of plant biotechnology, utilizing new, cutting edge technologies to assist with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of human and animal diseases. The Center houses individuals with expertise and excellence in plant virology, pathology, molecular biology, immunology, vaccinology, protein engineering, and biochemistry. Further information is available at www.fraunhofer-cmb.org.
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