MONTREAL, June 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: PLI) announces that its joint venture with the American Red Cross, Pathogen Removal and Diagnostic Technology Inc. ("PRDT"), has demonstrated that its proprietary Ligand technology can selectively bind and remove families of viruses from blood and blood products.
PRDT's pathogen reduction products are designed to assist blood transfusion services around the world in maintaining the safety of blood and blood-derived products by targeting prions and viruses. With over 40 million red cell units transfused annually in the U.S., Europe and Japan, this represents a vast market opportunity.
"This could be a significant advancement for the blood industry," stated Christopher Lamb, Senior Vice President, American Red Cross, Plasma Services. "This product would represent an important additional safety step to already rigorous blood handling procedures."
"PRDT's blood and blood product filters offer tremendous market opportunities. Blood safety, which our technology is perfectly suited for, is a concern for all blood transfusion services around the world," stated Pierre Laurin, President and CEO of ProMetic Life Sciences Inc.
Recent studies have shown that ligands chosen from PRDT's vast library have significantly reduced levels of parvovirus and flavivirus from plasma.
Parvovirus, a non-enveloped DNA virus relatively resistant to either heat or solvent treatments, can be transmitted through blood transfusions. Normally causing a mild febrile illness, parvovirus can, under certain circumstances, inhibit production of red blood cells, cause persistent anaemia and result in miscarriage. Ligands chosen from PRDT's vast libraries under license from ProMetic have significantly reduced levels of both human and porcine parvovirus from plasma (greater than 4 log).
Flavivirus, also known as bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV), has also been greatly reduced through the use of one of the lead ligands under development (greater than equal to 3 log). Flavivirus is a model system for both the human Hepatitis C virus and West Nile Virus.
"PRDT's Ligand technology targets hydrophobic pockets or "canyons" in viruses. This method of binding has already demonstrated effectiveness in removal of families of viruses, such as parvoviruses, and preliminary data indicates that certain ligands may remove more than one class of viruses", stated Dr. David Hammond, PRDT's Chief Scientific Officer. "If proven, this would enable one ligand to bind, and therefore, remove several viruses from blood and blood products in a single treatment".
"Our first product is aimed at filtration of donor blood supplies on-site at blood transfusion centers to reduce the potential risk of transmission of the fatal variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease ("vCJD"), the human form of mad cow disease," stated Peter Edwardson, PRDT's Project Director. "These new findings have significant implications since they indicate that we can add other filters, each capable of filtering out targeted pathogens in one single pass."
Pathogen Removal and Diagnostic Technology Inc.
PRDT is a joint venture company set up in April 2002 by the American Red Cross and ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. PRDT allows for a reciprocal exchange of technology and a knowledge base developed between the American Red Cross and ProMetic. PRDT main goal is to develop products and devices to remove and detect different pathogens from biological sources. This research augments work that ProMetic, the American Red Cross and PRDT's scientific founders have been conducting independently for many years.
ProMetic Life Sciences Inc.
ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. is a biopharmaceutical specialized in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of a variety of commercial applications from its proprietary platform technologies, which are used in the development of therapeutics, large-scale purification of biologics and the elimination of pathogens/viruses. Headquartered in Montreal (Canada), ProMetic has additional facilities in the UK and the USA. http://www.prometic.com/
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks
and uncertainties, including, but not limited to PRDT's ability to
develop, manufacture, and successfully commercialize value-added products
and to obtain contracts for its products and services and commercial
acceptance of its products. Shareholders are cautioned that these
statements are predictions and these actual events or results may differ
materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements.
PROMETIC LIFE SCIENCES INC.