TORONTO, March 21 -- Microbix Biosystems Inc. (TSX:MBX) announced today that it has been granted a patent by the Canadian Patent Office for its Vaccine Technology. This technology holds the promise of significantly boosting global production of influenza vaccines.
"This is a major milestone for Microbix as we move towards commercializing this important technology," said William J. Gastle, Chairman and CEO of the Company. "This is the first of a series of patents we expect will be granted in international markets where influenza vaccines are manufactured."
Last year, an independent laboratory confirmed that the Microbix' vaccine technology delivers a two-fold increase in the yield of human influenza virus from eggs. The independent evaluation was conducted by Dr. Todd Hatchette, the Director of Virology and Immunology at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Dr. Hatchette is a specialist in the field of influenza virus.
Annual global vaccine production capacity is currently only 350 million doses, far short of any potential pandemic requirement. Microbix' technology not only offers the potential to significantly increase flu vaccine production, but will also speed up development of vaccines in response to new flu strains - both important factors in combating possible future pandemics.
In its 2006 Global Action Plan to Increase Vaccine Supply, the World Health Organization stated that the first priority for the influenza vaccine industry is to improve production yields. The WHO also recognized that companies are currently working "independently of each other" and should collaborate in a more constructive way.
"Demand for seasonal influenza vaccine supply outstripped capacity again in 2006 and is a situation likely to remain for a number of years due to government policies that are raising population vaccination rates. Our technology offers an opportunity to expand capacity cost effectively and quickly," said Mr. Gastle.
"The WHO Plan highlights the consequences of a pandemic emerging in this environment of limited capacity," noted Mr. Gastle. "Every option, including our technology, should be used to head off severe shortages."
The global market for flu vaccines is growing and expected to reach $3.7 billion by 2010. Microbix' strategy is to collaborate with industry groups and license the technology to earn fees and royalties. Microbix is now in discussions with potential licensees.
Microbix specializes in developing proprietary biological technologies and commercializing them through global partners. The Company has intellectual property in large market biotherapeutic drugs, vaccine technologies and animal reproduction technologies. Established in 1988, Microbix is headquartered in Toronto.
Source: Microbix Biosystems Inc.
CONTACT:William J. Gastle,Chairman and CEO,(416) 234-1624 x 230