Converting Promises Into Cures: First-of-its-kind Canadian Biotech Company Launches During National Biotechnology Week

  • Posted on: 22 September 2008
  • By: admin001

TORONTO, ON: 26 November 2008 – Thomas Wellner, President and CEO of Therapure Biopharma Inc. today announced that the Company has signed a biomanufacturing services agreement with Minnesota-based Biomedical Frontiers Incorporated for the production of an iron chelating agent used in the treatment of thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder.

Therapure Biopharma will apply experience gained previously in the production of Biomedical Frontiers’ deferoxamine conjugates, which are injectable iron-binding drugs used to neutralize iron build-up in the blood of patients with an iron overload disorder. Biomedical Frontiers believes that their product offers advantages over existing treatments for thalassemia that will result in improved patient compliance and therefore better clinical outcomes.

In addition to manufacturing clinical trial supplies, Therapure Biopharma will provide debt financing that will partially support Biomedical Frontiers’ Phase II clinical program for the product. The contract also gives Therapure Biopharma long-term commercial manufacturing rights when the product is approved by regulators.

“Production of this compound for Biomedical Frontiers is a great example of the flexibility of our modern biomanufacturing facility,” said Thomas Wellner. “We are able to produce the necessary supplies of their compound quickly to support the continuing clinical development of this important new product.”

“We previously contracted with Therapure Biopharma in the manufacture of drug material to support our successful development program”, said Bo Erik Hedlund, President and Chief Executive Officer of Biomedical Frontiers. “Because of this earlier experience, we are very confident in Therapure Biopharma’s ability to produce a high-quality product within the timelines we need to start our Phase II trials. Securing both a manufacturer and a financial contribution from Therapure Biopharma will make it much easier for us to acquire the additional funding we need to complete these studies and bring a more effective and user-friendly treatment for thalassemia and other iron overload disorders to markets.”

About Therapure Biopharma:

Therapure Biopharma Inc. is an integrated biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures, purifies, and packages therapeutic proteins. Therapure Biopharma acquired its Canadian-built and conceived facility from Hemosol Corporation, a specialist in therapies derived from hemoglobin, a blood protein. Therapure Biopharma applies scientific, manufacturing, and downstream purification expertise with an intimate understanding of advanced biology, complex proteins, and regulatory processes to develop effective and innovative solutions to advance products from discovery to market.

For more information, please visit: www.therapurebio.com

About Biomedical Frontiers, Incorporated:

Biomedical Frontiers Incorporated (“BMF or the Company”) is a privately held biopharmaceutical company with a focus on developing innovative iron-binding drugs for the treatment of iron overload disorders and acute iron poisoning. BMF's proprietary technical platform involves chemical coupling of drugs to biocompatible polymers. The Company is currently preparing for a Phase II clinical trial for its proprietary lead iron-binding drug, starch-conjugated deferoxamine, in patients with transfusion dependent thalassemia.

For more information, please contact: Bo Hedlund, Ph.D. 612-281-4033“Despite the fact that biological protein therapeutics are seen as the future of medicine around the world and represent one-third of all drugs today - they are still not well understood by the average Canadian,” said Thomas Wellner, President & CEO of Therapure Biopharma Inc. “Therapure Biopharma is paving the way for Canadian innovators to continue developing protein-based therapies that make a difference in the lives of those affected by conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, Lupus, asthma, and cancer.”     

 

Biological proteins can have higher efficacy and fewer side effects than other pharmaceutical products, as they can be specifically targeted to address the cause of disease, rather than the treatment of its symptoms.

 

Arguably one of the first and most significant therapies derived from biological proteins was insulin, discovered in Ontario by now famous Canadian scientists Fredrick Banting and Charles Best at the University of Toronto in 1921. Dr. Banting and Dr. Best were able to isolate insulin from the inside of an animal pancreas. Today, insulin is considered one of the most groundbreaking achievements in the history of medicine.

 

The process of manufacturing and regulating production of protein-based therapeutics is complex and Canadian biotech companies struggle with access to capital and the lack of in-house production capabilities. On average it takes 7-10 years, and over $1 billion dollars to bring a product to market.

 

A major challenge in the Canadian biotechnology industry is that like Dr. Banting and Dr. Best, Canadians are successful at reaching medical discoveries in the laboratory but have less expertise when it comes to translating those discoveries into globally available commercial products. Canadian biotechnology companies often have to seek resources outside of Canada in order to launch commercially. This was the case for Dr. Banting and Dr. Best who were compelled to partner with a U.S. company that had the capability to manufacture insulin on a global scale.

 

“The problem in Canada is that while exciting work on protein-based therapeutics takes place in the lab, there are significant regulatory and commercial hurdles to overcome to get the product approved for broad use in the general population,” said Mr. Wellner.  “University scientists and emerging biotech companies need access to expertise to properly formulate, purify, manufacture and distribute the biological protein so that it can be used at the patient level – this is where Therapure Biopharma will have a huge impact globally.”

 

Located in Mississauga, Ontario, Therapure Biopharma’s unique and flexible 130,000 square foot cGMP manufacturing facility will be completed at the end of October, generating a significant number of high quality value-added jobs for Ontarians.

 

Biotechnology In Canada

  • Biotechnology is simply the use of living organisms or products to modify human health.
  • In contrast to traditional pharmaceuticals that are chemically based, biotechnology products are created from biologically based raw materials. 
  • There are currently 532 biotech companies in Canada representing a $4.2 billion industry.
  • Canadian biotech companies invest a total of $1.7 billion in research & development.

 

About Therapure Biopharma:

 

Therapure Biopharma Inc. is an integrated biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures, purifies, and packages therapeutic proteins. Therapure Biopharma acquired its Canadian built and conceived facility from Hemosol Corporation, a specialist in therapies derived from hemoglobin, a blood protein. Therapure Biopharma applies scientific, manufacturing, and downstream purification expertise with an intimate understanding of advanced biology, complex proteins, and regulatory processes to develop effective and innovative solutions to advance products from discovery to market. 

For more information, please visit: www.therapurebio.com