Company seeking endorsement of programs to reduce the risk of E. coli O157 contamination of food and water
BELLEVILLE, ON, May 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: BNC), a research-based, technology-driven Canadian biopharmaceutical company, today announced that it made representation at the House of Commons Sub-committee on Food Safety yesterday. This was an opportunity for the Company to create additional awareness of its on-farm/pre-harvest intervention to reduce the prevalence of the deadly E. coli O157 bacterium, and to seek further support for vaccination programs.
"Bioniche has proposed that a Government of Canada program be established that encourages adoption of our E. coli O157 cattle vaccine, the only registered vaccine of its kind in the world," said Rick Culbert, President of Bioniche Food Safety. "Such an initiative would position Canada as a global leader in food safety, preserve customer confidence in Canadian agricultural products and bolster public health."
The House of Commons Sub-committee on Food Safety was established following last year's Listeriosis outbreak in Canada. Like Listeriosis, E. coli O157 can be fatal to humans who become infected. An estimated 100,000 cases of human infection with the E. coli O157:H7 organism are reported each year in North America. Two to seven per cent of those people develop haemolytic 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.
Cattle are the primary carriers of E. coli O157, but the organism, which makes people ill, does not have the same effect on cattle. When people come in contact with contaminated food or water, they can become infected. The Bioniche E. coli vaccine - trademarked Econiche - has been proven in field studies to reduce colonization of cows by O157 and to reduce the amount of the bacteria shed in their manure, thus decreasing the number of bacteria to which humans may be exposed.
On-farm interventions to reduce the shedding of E. coli O157 by cattle, such as vaccination of cattle with Econiche, have the potential to reduce food and water contamination and the consequences associated with human infection with the deadly bacteria. Clinical trials conducted with Econiche have shown a significant reduction in the amount of E. coli shed in the manure of vaccinated cows.
It appears to Bioniche that most Canadian cattlemen are willing to administer the vaccine, but cannot afford to incur the expense of the vaccine without receiving an offsetting increase in revenue. At the same time, cattle producers believe that they receive no immediate or direct benefit for spending money to vaccinate their herds against E. coli O157. Bioniche is seeking the support of government to provide initial funding to encourage adoption, given that E. coli O157 poses a serious risk to human health.
Econiche is manufactured in the Bioniche production facility in Belleville, Ontario, where a $25-million expansion is taking place, supported by the Ontario and Canadian governments. Vaccine supply will be limited during this manufacturing expansion period.
Econiche 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
Several articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals about Econiche. Two articles were published in the Journal of Food Protection in November, 2007 related to field challenge studies conducted at the
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 the Top 50 Best Small and Medium-Sized Employers in Canada for 2009. 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.|
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