Lab Canada

NRC Biotechnology Research Institute enters strategic alliance with ProMetic Life Sciences

Montreal, QC September 29, 2003 The National Research Council’s Biotechnology Research Institute (NRC-BRI) and ProMetic Life Sciences announced today the formation of a strategic alliance for the production and biopurification of therapeutic proteins.

NRC-BRI and ProMetic Life Sciences have teamed up to provide a fully integrated service to biotech and pharmaceutical companies for the development and scale-up of therapeutic protein production. Optimizing the production of expensive proteins is crucial to creating commercially viable therapeutic products. The partners say they expect the joint venture to become a showcase for their technologies and expertise in the field of expression and downstream processing of therapeutics.

“NRC is proud to be working alongside ProMetic Life Sciences,” says Dr Arthur Carty, NRC president. “Such strategic alliances aim to bolster Canada’s innovation capacity”.

“ProMetic’s proven track record as a key developer of new technologies in the downstream processing area allows NRC to increase its scientific and technological capabilities in the field of therapeutic proteins,” says Dr Michel Desrochers, Director General, NRC-BRI. “This objective is of great importance to NRC’s biotechnology program.”

The bioprocess platform of NRC-BRI provides leverage to the alliance by significantly accelerating the development of therapeutic protein production schemes. Combined with ProMetic Mimetic LigandTM technology, the alliance intends to become a centre for therapeutic production, from the lab bench to optimized scaled-up bioprocesses.

“This alliance is suited for both the large pharmaceutical companies who seek to outsource development works to expert contract organizations as well as the smaller biotech companies who can invest in advancing their valuable drug candidates to the clinical stage rather than in an expensive infrastructure,” says Steve Burton, executive vice president of ProMetic, in the UK.

The alliance will use proprietary technologies already developed by NRC-BRI and ProMetic respectively, for solving bioprocess challenges, most of them of industrial interest. The commercial interactions between the alliance and biotech companies will be conducted under formal agreements. NRC-BRI and ProMetic will split the revenues generated from the services provided and royalties on sales equally. ProMetic will continue to sell bioseparation media to its clients.

According to Datamonitor, the therapeutic protein market grew by 14% in 2001 and is forecast to achieve sales of over US$57 billion by 2010. Growth to date has been dominated by sales of erythroproteins and insulins, while future growth will be driven by the rise of monoclonal antibodies and therapeutic vaccines.