TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Microbix Biosystems Inc. (TSX: MBX), a biotechnology company developing a pipeline of innovative biological technologies and products, announced today that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has denied a request brought by the current market leader for livestock sexed semen to re-examine fundamental claims in Microbix' patent for LumiSort® technology, Microbix' revolutionary advance in livestock artificial insemination.
LumiSort, the next-generation instrument-based (cytometric) technology, expected to enter the $3 billion market for sexed semen in the second half of 2013, will provide livestock producers around the world with a 3-fold increase in yield and a 10-fold increase in speed. More information on LumiSort technology is available on the web at www.lumisort.com
Microbix was granted patent protection for LumiSort technology from the USPTO in August of last year. In September, Inguran LLC, the parent of Sexing Technologies, which holds 100% of the market for sexed semen, requested that the USPTO re-examine the LumiSort patent claims. The Patent Office found that there was no basis for the re-examination of broad claims directed to the LumiSort method and system. As a result, claims in Microbix' patent embracing aspects of this significant contribution to the field remain enforceable.
To further support its dominant patent estate, Microbix today filed a new patent application for second-generation LumiSort technology representing significant advances in ease of use, construction, speed and accuracy of the instrument. Even before market introduction, Microbix has established agreements for licensing its LumiSort technology with more than one-third of the U.S. livestock semen collection centers and also has agreements with collection centers in Canada, Australia, Europe, South America, and China representing more than 40 million straws of the dairy semen sold annually and a market of $ 900 million.
In January, Microbix signed additional agreements with four new semen collection companies representing an additional six million straws under license that could convert to LumiSort sexed semen. This could represent additional revenue of $8 million annually within three years of launch. The companies are located in northern and southern Europe, Southeast Asia and the U.S. giving LumiSort a presence in all corners of the world. All agreements include royalty payments to Microbix of 15% of sales of sexed semen and combined could represent more than $100 million annually in revenues.
Eric Danzeisen, co-founder of a California artificial insemination organization, Sierra Desert Breeders, said, "We partnered with Microbix because we are confident that this new technology is going to surpass the outdated sexing techniques currently available and will help our company grow into a global supplier. Because high quality sexed semen is the number one factor in growing our business, we're enthusiastic in our anticipation of the advances LumiSort will bring to the industry."
William J. Gastle, Chief Executive Officer, said "The current generation of instruments subjects delicate livestock sperm cells to rapid pressure changes, electrical charges, and high velocity impacts which ultimately impacts fertility rates. LumiSort overcomes these limitations. For this reason, we anticipate that LumiSort sexed semen will have much higher fertility rates than the currently available products and will become the market leader within three years of launch."
Microbix is in advanced discussions with a number of strategic partners to fund the final development and commercialization steps of LumiSort technology, which has no regulatory barriers to market entry. Microbix has confirmed a market potential for LumiSort that will rise in excess of $3 billion with this effective semen sexing technology. Microbix expects to become market leader by revolutionizing practices in the livestock artificial insemination industry within three years of launch.
About Microbix Biosystems Inc.
Microbix Biosystems Inc. specializes in the development of the most advanced vaccine production technology and markets virology and biological products worldwide. The Company has intellectual property in large market biotherapeutic drugs, vaccine technologies and animal reproduction technologies. Microbix supplies customers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Established in 1988, Microbix is headquartered in Toronto. LumiSort is a registered Trademark of Microbix Biosystems Inc.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements including the risks associated with commercializing the technologies, including sales which may not reach sales targets or be made at all, there is no guarantee that the Company will complete development of any technology and if it does that it will perform to commercially exploitable levels, other technologies may emerge before any technology developed by the Company enters the market, royalty rates may not be achievable, markets may not sustain demand for any product should world economies shift significantly, market utilization rates may not be reached, market value of products may vary, product launch dates and market utilization timetables may not be met; risks associated with the ability to license LumiSort to industry; risks associated with failure to develop and commercialize LumiSort; non-adoption of LumiSort; competition in the animal health and related markets; reliance by Microbix on third parties for the development and manufacture of LumiSort instrument; general economic conditions; intellectual property risks including challenges to protecting the Company's intellectual property rights, patents may not provide adequate protection of the Company's intellectual property, may not be successfully prosecuted and may be subject to challenge and risks of infringement of third party rights; risks of operating in foreign jurisdictions, including operating in countries with evolving legal and economic infrastructure; high rates of inflation; changes in taxation policies, and Microbix' ability to attract and retain qualified employees and management. These forward-looking statements represent the Company's judgment as of the date of this press release. The Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
For further information:
Visit www.microbix.com or contact: William J. Gastle, CEO, (416) 234-1624 x 230; or James Long, CFO, (416) 234-1624 x 265.