Bioniche E. coli O157 Vaccine to be Used in an On-Farm Intervention Study in Sweden

Apr 18, 2013, 17:00 ET from Bioniche Life Sciences Inc.

-vaccine to be used under import permit on cattle farms to control serious human illness-

BELLEVILLE, ON, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: BNC) (ASX: BNC), a research-based, technology-driven Canadian biopharmaceutical company, today announced that its E. coli O157 cattle vaccine (Econiche®) is being shipped to Sweden for on-farm studies in some Swedish cattle herds. The Swedish National Veterinary Institute, Swedish Animal Health Service AB and the Swedish Board of Agriculture have collaborated with Bioniche to arrange for the vaccine to be granted Special Treatment Certification for this purpose.

Sweden has been testing and monitoring both cattle farm and slaughterhouse samples for verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) for more than three years. The results of this testing have been correlated to human illness due to VTEC. While more than one type of VTEC has been associated with human illness in Sweden, a particular sub-group of the O157 strain, clade 8, has consistently been associated with the most severe cases of human illness in that country.

"Studies to date have been focused on implementing additional hygiene procedures on VTEC O157-positive farms and making modifications to animal movement on-farm and eventually between farms," said Dr. Erik Eriksson of the Swedish National Veterinary Institute. "We expect that immunization of cattle could be very helpful as an additional intervention on some farms, and could form part of a future control program."

"The degree of interdepartmental collaboration in Sweden is very impressive," said Mr. Rick Culbert, President, Bioniche One Health. "In North America, there has been difficulty determining who should pay for an animal vaccine that provides a human health benefit. In Sweden, however, all agencies work together and keep it simple, by focusing on the effect of on-farm VTEC controls as measured by associated human illness."

Sweden has been working with on-farm control measures for VTEC that causes severe disease, and also has plans for a future control program with involvement of the veterinary organizations representing the farmers.  If the initial on-farm evaluation of Econiche® works for Swedish conditions, the Swedish collaborators expect to eventually progress to a larger, multi-farm vaccination study in certain areas where verotoxigenic O157 strains of clade 8 predominate.

About E. coli O157

Ruminants, primarily cattle, are considered to be the primary carriers of verotoxinogenic E. coli O157 (VTEC O157). This bacterium can cause severe illness and can even be fatal. Spread of the bacteria to humans can be indirect or through direct contact with infected animals and their manure (environment). For example when ingested by humans from unpasteurized milk, contaminated uncooked meat, vegetables, other food products, water or at visitor open farms or petting zoos etc. Human exposure and infection with E. coli O157 can result in serious health consequences, including abdominal pain and severe bloody diarrhea. In severe cases, kidney damage can occur and progress to serious complications and even death. Lingering, long-term medical conditions can persist in individuals exposed to the bacterium. These include post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS), reduced kidney function, diabetes, hypertension and reactive arthritis. E. coli O157 is commonly carried by animals and ruminants but will cause the animals to show no signs of infection even though there is potential for spread of E. coli O157 in their feces.

An estimated 100,000 cases of human infection with the E. coli O157 organism are reported each year in North America. Two to seven per cent of those people develop haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a disease characterized by kidney failure. Five percent of HUS patients die, many of them children and senior citizens, whose kidneys are more sensitive to damage.

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, has received Special Treatment Certificate authorization for UK veterinary surgeons to use on visitor open farms, and now has been granted an import permit for use on cattle farms in Sweden.

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.

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