Düsseldorf, 24 May 2005 - Berna Biotech AG, the Swiss
Exchange listed company, has decided to expand the
business activities of its Düsseldorf-based subsidiary,
Rhein Biotech GmbH. Rhein Biotech GmbH is a renowned
company with 20 years of market experience. In the future, it
will operate as a product development company and
strategic partner for biotech companies. Both companies
expect that the new orientation will strengthen their core
competencies and thus optimise value generation.
In 2002, Berna Biotech announced its acquisition of the Dutch
mother company, Rhein Biotech NV. After the successful
completion of the integration process, Berna Biotech AG has
decided to position Rhein Biotech GmbH as an independent
product development company and strategic partner for biotech
companies. The separation of business operations enables
Rhein Biotech GmbH to expand its business activities on an
independent basis as a member of the Berna Biotech Group.
"This step will provide Rhein Biotech GmbH with greater market
proximity and flexibility so that it can gain new partners and
investors," said Dr. Kuno Sommer, CEO of Berna Biotech AG.
In the past, Rhein Biotech GmbH has repeatedly demonstrated
that it is capable of successfully developing projects from the
pre-clinical to the market stage. As a strategic partner, it
particularly supports early-stage biotech companies that focus
on biopharmaceutical research in early project stages. The aim
is to bring their projects to the clinical stage as quickly and cost
efficiently as possible in order to drive forward the value creation
process. "Bearing this in mind, Rhein Biotech GmbH is a very
interesting option for venture capital providers and investors in
small-scale biotechnology companies who are keen to speed up
their projects and business developments to generate added
value, explained Frank Ubags, CEO of Rhein Biotech GmbH.
Rhein Biotech GmbH has already brought five products to
market launch stage and successfully licensed them out: two 3-
dose hepatitis B vaccines, insulin, alpha-interferon and hirudin.
Three additional products are in the development pipeline.
Before the end of the year, it is planning to launch a new 2-dose
hepatitis B vaccine with a shortened vaccination scheme on the
Argentinean market. With this vaccine, immune protection is
achieved after only three months. The new vaccine has the
potential to play a significant role in the € 1 billion market for
hepatitis B vaccines. Rhein Biotech GmbH is particularly
optimistic about the development of a therapeutic vaccine for the
treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infections. The project is
currently in the pre-clinical stage and start of clinical trials is
estimated in the course of 2006. The therapeutic vaccine will
open up an entirely new, commercially attractive market
segment for the treatment of chronic hepatitis. Today's
conventional symptomatic treatments (interferons and anti-viral
compounds) account for global sales of almost € 3 billion. Rhein
Biotech GmbH also has high expectations of the development of
a vaccine to prevent infection with human cytomegalovirus
(CMV). This project is still in the early development stage.
Dr. Kuno Sommer expects that the repositioning of Rhein
Biotech GmbH is "a vital prerequisite for the step up in value
creation at both companies".
Rhein Biotech GmbH:
Rhein Biotech GmbH is currently a fully owned subsidiary of the
Dutch company, Rhein Biotech N.V.. Berna Biotech AG,
Switzerland, currently holds a 93 percent stake in the company.
Rhein Biotech GmbH has 20 years' experience in the
biotechnology sector, 17 years of which (1985 - 2002) as product
development company and external service provider.
Berna Biotech AG (Swiss Exchange: BBIN):
Berna Biotech AG develops, produces and markets vaccines
and immunotherapeutics for private and public markets worldwide.
Headquartered in Bern, Switzerland, with subsidiaries in
Europe and Korea, Berna Biotech is a fully-integrated company
employing over 800 people.
Berna Biotech's range of novel and validated proprietary
technology platforms supports a strong product portfolio. The
company markets five core vaccines in the hepatitis B,
respiratory, paediatric and travel franchises, and has a broad
development pipeline. Product development is supported
through alliances with academic and commercial partners.
Frank Ubags; Tel +49 211 7 58 45 - 0