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Cangene Corporation (CC:CNJ) Acquires U.S. Commercialization Rights for HepaGam B(R) from Apotex Corp. (JOBS); Apotex to Get $7 Million Upfront


10/20/2009 7:31:45 AM

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TORONTO and WINNIPEG, Oct. 19 /CNW/ - Cangene Corporation today announces that it has signed an agreement with its majority shareholder, the Apotex Group, under which Cangene acquires all U.S. commercialization rights for HepaGam B(R) (Hepatitis B Immune Globulin Intravenous (Human)). HepaGam B(R) is Cangene's hepatitis B immune globulin, which is approved for treating two hepatitis-B-related indications in the U.S. The product has been gaining market share and revenues have increased steadily. Cangene's independent directors approved the new agreement after having determined that it is fair to Cangene and its shareholders. Apotex Corp., a member of the Apotex Group, has been marketing the product in the U.S. since it was first approved there in 2006. The new agreement becomes effective on November 1, 2009. Cangene will pay Apotex a US$7.0-million upfront fee, as well as royalties on net U.S. sales that occur from November 1, 2009 until June 2016.

"This is a pivotal step in our plan to expand our commercial operations in the U.S. We are focused on building a broader portfolio of hospital-based specialty products and will continue to seek further acquisition opportunities," said Dr. John Langstaff, Cangene's president and CEO.

Cangene and Apotex will work closely together during a transfer period from November 1, 2009 until January 31, 2010, to ensure customers experience a smooth transition. During the transfer period, Cangene will be expanding its commercial, regulatory and medical affairs infrastructure in the U.S.

Cangene manufactures HepaGam B(R) in its Winnipeg facility using a process similar to that of WinRho(R) SDF, Vaccinia Immune Globulin ("VIG") and VariZIG(TM), the Company's other hyperimmune products that have been approved in the United States and/or Canada.

About Hepatitis B virus

Hepatitis B is a highly infectious virus. A vaccine for hepatitis B is available, yet the virus continues to cause disease worldwide and pose a significant public health problem. There are an estimated 800,000 to 1.4 million chronically infected Americans and approximately 350 million chronic cases worldwide. The risk for developing chronic hepatitis B is higher in infants (incidence of 90%) and children ages 1-5 (25-50%) than in adults and children over 5 years (6-10%). Immunized individuals with pre-existing antibodies to hepatitis B rarely contract the disease. Hyperimmune products such as HepaGam B(R) can provide this immunity for individuals who have not been vaccinated or have not responded to vaccine. In a clinical trial using HepaGam B(R) and vaccination, 98% of at-risk infants were protected from hepatitis B.

About HepaGam B(R) (Hepatitis B Immune Globulin Intravenous (Human))

HepaGam B(R) is a hyperimmune product containing antibodies specific for hepatitis B virus. The product is approved in Canada, the U.S. and Israel for treating acute exposure to the hepatitis B virus (post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP) and for preventing re-infection in liver transplant recipients who are positive for hepatitis B infection (NOC with conditions in Canada). HepaGam B(R) is the first hepatitis B immune globulin to receive approval in Canada and the United States for both the PEP and liver transplant indications.

HepaGam B(R) is made from human plasma. Products made from human plasma may contain infectious agents, such as viruses and theoretically, the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease agent. The risk that such products can transmit an infectious agent has been reduced by the screening of plasma donors for prior exposure to certain viruses, by testing for the presence of certain current virus infections, and by inactivating and/or removing certain viruses from the product. The HepaGam B(R) manufacturing process includes a solvent/detergent treatment step that is effective in inactivating certain viruses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. HepaGam B(R) is also filtered using filters that are effective in reducing the levels of other types of viruses. These two processes are designed to increase product safety. Despite these measures, such products can still potentially transmit disease. There is also the possibility that unknown infectious agents may be present in such products.

About Hyperimmunes

Hyperimmunes are purified preparations of specific immune globulins isolated from blood plasma. Immune globulins are the class of proteins that function as antibodies. Cangene's proprietary manufacturing process allows it to produce high-quality hyperimmune products aimed at a wide variety of targets. The Company has been manufacturing its WinRho(R) SDF hyperimmune product for nearly 30 years, which has established the manufacturing technology. Most recently, the Company's development efforts have been concentrated on developing products with infectious disease and bioterrorism targets.

About Cangene Corporation

Cangene is one of Canada's largest and earliest biopharmaceutical companies. It was founded in 1984 and is headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Cangene has approximately 700 employees in eight locations across North America and its products are sold worldwide. It operates three large manufacturing facilities - two in Winnipeg, Manitoba and one in Baltimore, Maryland - where it produces its own products and undertakes contract manufacturing for a number of companies. Cangene operates three U.S. and one Canadian plasma-collection facilities. In addition, it has a regulatory affairs, sales and corporate communications office in Toronto, Ontario.

Cangene is focused on developing therapeutics for infectious diseases, and the Company uses patented manufacturing processes to produce plasma-derived and recombinant therapeutic proteins. Cangene has five FDA and/or Health Canada-approved products. In addition, the Company has several more products in development at various stages. Three of Cangene's products have been accepted into the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile - botulism antitoxin, anthrax immune globulin and vaccinia immune globulin, a product used to counteract certain complications that may arise from smallpox vaccination.

Capitalizing on its drug manufacturing expertise, Cangene also operates a significant contract research and manufacturing business using its Winnipeg facilities and the resources of Baltimore, Maryland-based Chesapeake Biological Laboratories, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary). Cangene's website, www.cangene.com, includes product and investor information, including past news releases. Chesapeake's website is www.cblinc.com.

"Cangene", "HepaGam B", "VariZIG", "WinRho" and "WinRho SDF" are trademarks belonging to Cangene Corporation.

Forward-looking and risk information

The reader should be aware that Cangene's businesses are subject to risks and uncertainties that cannot be predicted or quantified; consequently, actual results may differ materially from past results and those expressed or implied by any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such risks or uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the regulatory environment including the difficulty of predicting regulatory outcomes; changes in the value of the Canadian dollar; the Company's reliance on a small number of customers including government organizations; the demand for new products and the impact of competitive products, service and pricing; availability and cost of raw materials, especially the cost, availability and antibody concentration in plasma; fluctuations in operating results; government policies or actions; progress and cost of clinical trials; reliance on key strategic relationships; costs and possible development delays resulting from use of legal, regulatory or legislative strategies by the Company's competitors; uncertainty related to intellectual property protection and potential costs associated with its defence; the Company's exposure to lawsuits; and other matters beyond control of management. Risks and uncertainties are discussed more extensively in the MD&A section of the Company's most recent annual report and annual information form, which are available on the Company's website or on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Scientific information that relates to unapproved products or unapproved uses of products is preliminary and investigative. No conclusions can or should be drawn regarding the safety or efficacy of such products. Only regulatory authorities can determine whether products are safe and effective for the uses being investigated. Healthcare professionals are directed to refer to approved labelling for products and not rely on information presented in news releases, which may not contain all relevant safety information. Drug names and prescribing information may differ in various countries.

The preceding cautionary statements should be considered in connection with all written or oral statements, especially forward-looking statements, that are made by the Company or by persons acting on its behalf and in conjunction with its periodic filings with Securities Commissions, including those contained in the Company's news releases and most recently filed annual information form. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "expects", "plans", "will", "believes", "estimates", "intends", "may", "bodes" and other words of similar meaning (including negative and grammatical variations). Should known or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, or should management's assumptions prove inaccurate, actual results could vary materially from those anticipated. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly make or update any forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable law.

For further information

about Cangene Corporation, please contact Paul Brisebois at (204) 275-4310 or by email at pbrisebois@cangene.com

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