Canadian Biotechnology Company receives payments for achieving milestones
with safflower-produced insulin and Botaneco subsidiary
TSX symbol: SBS
CALGARY, April 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - SemBioSys Genetics Inc. (TSX:SBS), a biotechnology company developing a portfolio of therapeutic proteins for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, today announced that it has received milestone payments totaling CDN$850,000 from AVAC Ltd. The payments relate to separate agreements that SemBioSys has entered into with AVAC to advance the development of its safflower-produced insulin and the commercial activities of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Botaneco Specialty Ingredients Inc., which manufactures and markets Botaneco's proprietary product, Hydresia(TM), to personal care companies.
"These milestone payments demonstrate our progress with two key opportunities: safflower-produced insulin and the Botaneco business," said Andrew Baum, President and CEO of SemBioSys. "Our long-standing relationship with AVAC has provided access to non-dilutive capital allowing us to accelerate our progress on both our non-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical products which have the potential to generate value in the both short- and longer-term, respectively. By achieving critical milestones we have continued to earn their support, specifically on the development of insulin and the commercialization of Hydresia(TM). We believe these two programs will be critical to our growth and we appreciate the commitment that AVAC has made to them."
SemBioSys received a $350,000 milestone payment for completing a number of technical objectives in the development of its insulin program, including the initiation of the preclinical toxicology study of the Company's safflower-produced insulin. The funds will be used to further develop and advance SemBioSys' insulin program and are part of up to $873,000 committed by AVAC. The Company intends to submit an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the third quarter of 2008 in order to begin a Phase I/II clinical trial later this year. Currently, the world insulin market is estimated to be over US$7 billion per year, with the potential to double by 2012.
SemBioSys also received a $500,000 milestone payment as part of the non-dilutive funding from AVAC of up to $2.4 million for advancing the development of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Botaneco. To receive this payment, SemBioSys successfully established its Botaneco technical service and sales centre and completed work on claim substantiation for a new product application of the Hydresia(TM) ingredient. As part of this milestone, Botaneco announced earlier this year that Burt's Bees, the largest natural personal care company in North America, was using Hydresia in three of its products. The addressable market for personal care ingredients is greater than US$15 billion per year.
In return for its investment, AVAC is entitled to receive a royalty, on gross revenues derived from each of the two programs insulin and Botaneco, in arrears beginning in March 2008 and December 2009, respectively, until an aggregate return up to a maximum of two times the gross amount invested by AVAC has been remitted.
About SemBioSys Genetics Inc. (http://www.sembiosys.com)
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 agricultural biotechnology markets.
About AVAC (http://www.avacltd.com)
AVAC Ltd. is a private not-for-profit company that invests in early-stage (pre-commercial) value added companies, commercially-relevant agricultural research, and as a strategic fund-of-fund investor in early stage venture capital. AVAC's primary objective is to expand Alberta's industry, with particular focus on: agri-business, renewable resources, ICT, life sciences and other industrial technology sectors. Created in 1997, AVAC has invested in over 95 early-stage companies, 47 agriculture research programs and projects, and 2 venture capital funds to date.
About Botaneco Specialty Ingredients Inc. (http://www.botaneco.ca)
From development through delivery, Botaneco manufactures and markets a branded line of ingredients that harness the naturally occurring benefits of protein protected seed oils. Botaneco provides performance, innovation and choice in creating natural, renewable and versatile delivery systems and ingredients used in the development of cosmetics, personal care and prescription topical/dermatology products beneficial to humans and the environment. Botaneco is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SemBioSys Genetics Inc.
About Hydresia(TM) (http://www.hydresia.com)
Hydresia(TM) is a base emulsion naturally derived from safflower seed oilbodies, or oleosomes, which can replace traditional emulsifiers such as petrolatum and animal and chemical byproducts in health and beauty products. Oleosomes serve as natural storehouses for the emollient oils, antioxidants and natural moisture barriers that help keep skin soft, supple and young looking. SemBioSys has developed a gentle and natural proprietary process to isolate oleosomes from the seed fully intact to provide lasting protection to the skin.
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 http://www.sedar.com. 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.
|SOURCE SemBioSys Genetics Inc.|
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