BELLEVILLE, ON, June 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: BNC), a research-based, technology-driven Canadian biopharmaceutical company, presented data regarding its E. coli O157:H7 cattle vaccine at the 6th Congress of Medical Microbiology - Mikromed 2008 in Belgrade, Serbia last weekend. The presentation was made by Dr. Dragan Rogan, Vice-President, Bioniche Animal Health Research & Development.
The Bioniche vaccine is the world's first vaccine that may be used as an on-farm intervention to reduce the amount of E. coli O157:H7 shed by cattle. Bioniche and its collaborators have been moving the vaccine towards commercial availability for eight years and it has been extensively tested at the University Nebraska-Lincoln, with efficacy results now being published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, most recently, the Journal of Food Protection, in November, 2007.
In his presentation, Dr. Rogan summarized numerous studies that have been completed with the Bioniche vaccine over the last five years involving more than 30,000 cattle. It has been identified that approximately 60% of cattle have more than 20% prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in the summer months, while only 10% have this level of prevalence in winter. The results of studies conducted with the Bioniche E. coli O157:H7 vaccine indicate that winter shedding levels can be approximated by vaccinating summer-fed cattle. "This establishes proof-of-concept for vaccination as a useful pre-harvest intervention against E. coli O157:H7," said Dr. Rogan. "Vaccination of an entire feedlot will have a dramatic effect on E. coli cycling in the feedlot and, over time, has the potential to decrease the environmental load and subsequent re-infection with each successive cycle."
Food recalls due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination continue to be a concern in beef, produce and prepared food. On-farm interventions to reduce the shedding of E. coli O157:H7 by cattle, such as vaccination, may assist in reducing the potential for food and water contamination and the resulting human illnesses and deaths.
Approximately 100,000 cases of human infection with the E. coli O157:H7 organism are reported each year in North America. 2% to 7% of those people develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a disease characterized by kidney failure (in recent outbreaks, this percentage has risen to as high as 16%). Five percent of HUS patients die, many of them children and senior citizens, whose kidneys are more sensitive to damage.
In addition to being infected by contaminated food or water, individuals can become infected from E. coli O157:H7 by visiting animal exhibits. Petting zoos, fairs, and agricultural exhibits provide many possible routes of transmission for E. coli. Direct animal contact is the obvious route, but contact with contaminated products (e.g., sawdust, shavings, soiled clothing or shoes) can also lead to human infection.
The E. coli O157:H7 cattle vaccine will be manufactured in the Bioniche production facility in Belleville, Ontario, Canada where a two-year, $25 million expansion is taking place, supported by the Ontario and Canadian governments. Vaccine supply will be limited during this manufacturing expansion period.
About the E. coli O157:H7 Cattle Vaccine
This vaccine received international recognition in September, 2007 by the Animal Pharm Industry Excellence Awards as the best new veterinary product for livestock globally. The vaccine has been developed by a strategic alliance formed in 2000 between the University of British Columbia (UBC), the Alberta Research Council (ARC), the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine & Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), and Bioniche, which holds the rights for worldwide commercialization of the vaccine. The vaccine prevents the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria from attaching to the intestines of vaccinated cattle, thereby reducing their reproduction within the animal, and reducing the amount of bacteria that can be released through cattle manure in the environment. More than 30,000 cattle have been involved in clinical testing of the vaccine over the past five years.
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 products for human and animal health markets worldwide. The fully-integrated company employs approximately 200 skilled personnel and has three operating divisions: Human Health, Animal Health, and Food Safety. The Company's primary goal is to develop proprietary cancer therapies supported by revenues from marketed products in human and animal health. Bioniche has been named one of Canada's Top Ten Life Sciences Companies for 2008. For more information, please visit http://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.|
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