Industrial Research Chairs in Food Safety Filled
international expertise comes together in research collaboration
SASKATOON SK, October 15, 2004 – Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. (TSX:BNC), in partnership with the Vaccine & Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the University of Saskatchewan, today announced the filling of two Natural Science and Engineering Research Canada (NSERC)/Bioniche Industrial Research Chairs in vaccines to reduce food and water contamination. The two individuals who will fill the Chairs are Dr. Andy Potter (Senior Chair) and Dr. Wolfgang Köster (Associate Chair).
Dr. Potter is Associate Director (Research) at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and has been active in the area of veterinary vaccine development for the past two decades. Dr. Köster has been the Senior Scientist leading the Drinking Water Microbiology group at the Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology in Dübendorf, Switzerland since 1999.
“This public-private partnership will significantly advance VIDO’s world-class research in the development of vaccines to reduce food and water contamination,” said Steven Franklin, Vice-President of Research at the University of Saskatchewan, noting there are more than 70 million reported cases of food-borne illness in North America each year.
VIDO and Bioniche are partners in a strategic alliance that is in the final phase of developing an E. coli O157:H7 vaccine for cattle. The alliance also includes the University of British Columbia and the Alberta Research Council. The Research Chairs were established in April of this year to undertake research leading to the development of additional food safety vaccines to fight infectious diseases of animals, including Salmonella enteritidis, Campylobacter jejuni, and Cryptosporidium parvum. These three animal-to-human-transmitted pathogens cause illnesses that can be serious and, in some cases, fatal. Certain strains of E. coli can cause kidney failure in young children and infants; Salmonella can lead to reactive arthritis and serious infections; and Campylobacter may be the most common precipitating factor for Guillain-Barre syndrome, according to the Partnership for Food Safety Education.
“Bioniche is investing $400,000 each year for five years into these Research Chairs,” noted Graeme McRae, President & CEO of Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. “This is a significant investment in essential research that will ultimately reduce the spread of infectious diseases from animals to humans, a serious health risk in society.” Bioniche is completing the final requirements for Canadian registration, which would lead to licensing of the E. coli O157:H7 vaccine for sale in Canada. U.S. registration is also being pursued, following which we will be seeking registration in Europe. Our facility in Belleville will have sufficient capacity to produce the Canadian and European supplies of the vaccine, and we are working with the Alberta Research Council to organize production capacity for the U.S. market.”
The coordination of the Research Chair activity is being shared by Dr. Dragan Rogan, Vice-President of Research and Development at Bioniche Animal Health, a Division of Bioniche Life Sciences, and Dr. Andy Potter at VIDO.
About the Vaccine & Infectious Disease Organization
The Vaccine & Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) is a global leader in food animal infectious disease research and in the development of livestock vaccines. It delivers leading-edge technology for disease solutions, to benefit livestock producers, the food industry and society as a whole. The Organization aims to be a world leader in the development of innovative vaccines and vaccine delivery systems, and a preferred partner in developing and commercializing products.