ProMetic Life Sciences Inc.
TSX : PLI

ProMetic Life Sciences Inc.

March 30, 2010 20:47 ET

ProMetic Announces Highlights and Year End Financials for 2009

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 30, 2010) - ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX:PLI)

  • 2009 revenue increased by 34% to $13.6 M
  • Protein Technologies Unit's net loss decreased to $0.9 M compared to $6 M in 2008
  • Net losses for the Group reduced by 54% to $9.3 M compared to $20.2 M in 2008
  • PBI-1402 – and analogues – potential value extends beyond anemia indications
  • Prion capture commercial applications recommended for adoption by SaBTO

ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. ("ProMetic") today reported on its business highlights and financial results for the year ended December 31, 2009. All amounts are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise indicated. Additionally, ProMetic announces that its 2009 Annual Report has been filed on Sedar (www.sedar.com) and is now available on its web site at www.prometic.com.  

"Throughout 2009, we maintained the fine balance between activities which generate profit and activities that generate substantial longer-term value," stated Mr. Pierre Laurin, ProMetic's President and Chief Executive Officer, who added: "over the last six months, ProMetic has received $18 Million in cash injection from its strategic partners working with ProMetic on the commercial applications of the Company's prion capture technology. This bodes well in regards to this sector of activity and fully justifies our past investments in this field".

"Moreover, our activities for the advancement of our novel, first-in-class therapeutics, PBI-1402 and analogues, are enabling us to develop alternative regulatory pathways to overcome the challenges related to the redefined anemia market," stated Mr. Laurin.

Mr. Bruce Pritchard, the Company's Chief Financial Officer commented, "With the latest cash injection of $14 Million, our focus on revenue generating activities driven by our Protein Technologies Unit, and rationalization of research and development expenditures, we are in a much better position to realize the true value of ProMetic." He went on to add: "During 2009, the Protein Technologies division was only $0.9 Million short of its breakeven target. This foundation, coupled with the projected growth, some of which is already secured, should result in a lower cash requirement from operations in 2010." Commenting further he stated: "We intend using the cash invested by Abraxis BioScience, Inc. ("Abraxis") to fund the operating runway for 2010, and to repay a significant amount of the other debt borrowed to fund the business during 2009. Assuming we hit our base-case earnings target, which excludes revenues from P-Capt® and PBI-1402, we should still have a positive cash balance at the end of 2010. The focus now, more than ever, must be on delivering against our value drivers in this time."

Highlights

Protein Technologies

The proprietary prion capture business gained significant momentum in 2009 with two recommendations from the United-Kingdom's Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs ('SaBTO") which favours ProMetic, as well as key commercial transactions:

  • SaBTO's July 2009 recommendations included that a pooled virally-inactivated and prion-reduced plasma product be used for transfusion. PRDT's prion capture technology is used at industrial scale by Octapharma AG ("Octapharma") for the manufacturing of OctaplasLG®. OctaplasLG®, licensed in Germany, is presently undergoing regulatory approval for use in various countries.
  • On November 20, 2009, SaBTO recommended the adoption of the P-Capt® prion reduction filter to pre-treat red blood cells destined for children born after January 1, 1996.
  • ProMetic announced it acquired, in a non-cash deal, the shares of American Red Cross ("Arc") to take a controlling stake in PRDT by exchanging a declining royalty stream based on future revenues for the ARC's 51% share of the common stock. This brought ProMetic's share of the common stock of PRDT to 77%.
  • On October 1, 2009, Octapharma provided a $4.5 million advance to ProMetic on a long-term prion capture resin supply agreement signed in December 2008, linked to minimum yearly purchase orders for the prion capture resin incorporated into Octapharma's manufacturing process for its solvent/detergent treated plasma product, OctaplasLG®.
  • In January 2010, ProMetic announced it had entered into a collaboration agreement with Abraxis to develop and commercialize various applications deriving from ProMetic's prion capture technology platform. This is a new strategic agreement in addition to the joint-development of biopharmaceuticals from our manufacturing platform technology.

The Company was quite active with new clients adopting the technology and current clients increasing their demand for our proprietary affinity resins:

  • On September 24, 2009, ProMetic signed a long-term (5-year) supply agreement with a major global pharmaceutical company, securing an initial order of $8.9 million for the supply of a Mimetic Ligand ™product. Product deliveries to complete this contract commenced in the last quarter of 2009 and will continue into the first half of 2010.
  • In November 2009, ProMetic finalized a long-term (5-year) supply agreement with Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. to provide a synthetic ligand affinity adsorbent for use in the manufacture of its rHuPH20 product, a recombinant version of human hyaluronidase enzyme.
  • In December 2009, ProMetic entered into an agreement with a multinational company to develop a Mimetic Ligand™ affinity adsorbent to improve the manufacturing process for a second-generation biopharmaceutical targeting a $1B market.
  • In February 2010, Novozymes and ProMetic entered into a strategic alliance regarding proprietary albumin purification technology based upon a synthetic-ligand affinity adsorbent developed by ProMetic's UK subsidiary, ProMetic BioSciences Ltd. The new synthetic-ligand affinity adsorbent, AlbuPure®, will be co-marketed by both companies.
  • The project with HemCon Medical Technologies, Inc. to develop a sterile, single-use antibody capture device for the removal of isoagglutinin antibodies initiated in March 2009 met its first development milestone and moved into the second phase of development. 

Therapeutics

The Therapeutics Unit has undergone significant change in 2009. This change was driven by three main factors: a transition from research and development mode to product development, a primary focus on ProMetic's clinical-stage lead compound, PBI-1402, and a focus on activities that support the development, regulatory and partnering activities of PBI-1402. This transition has allowed the Company to significantly reduce research and development expenses and allocate funds to activities that will build value from this group of drug candidates.

During the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Nephrology in October, ProMetic's scientists presented additional data that further supported how PBI-1402 was exerting its protective effect on the kidneys and on other key organs. In December 2009, ProMetic met with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's ("FDA") Division of Medical Imaging and Hematology Products to discuss the regulatory pathway for the development of PBI-1402. The FDA acknowledged that PBI-1402 was a novel, first-in-class drug that differs, via its mechanism of action, from existing medications approved for the treatment of anemia, such as the marketed erythropoiesis-stimulating agents ("ESAs").

The new data generated by ProMetic scientists throughout the year confirms that PBI-1402 is much more than a compound just for the treatment of anemia. The combination of new data and the outcome of the meeting with the FDA represented the achievement of a key milestone, for ProMetic could now pursue initial regulatory approval in several different medical indications in addition to anemia.

While data generated to date supports a unique safety profile overcoming concerns about ESAs, it also suggests that PBI-1402 could also be used to treat underlying medical conditions. For instance, PBI-1402's anti-fibrotic activity could slow down the progression of chronic kidney disease ("CKD") and several other types of fibrotic diseases.

Discussions between ProMetic and potential partners take into account these new and positive developments. ProMetic retained the services of Sumitomo Corporation of America to capitalize on their reach and experience for the Japanese market to leverage the value of PBI-1402 and its analogues. Healthios is also advising the Company for the U.S. market.

Financial Results

The following information should be read in conjunction with the audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 as well as the annual Management Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2009 including results of the fourth quarter.

Total revenues for 2009, which were derived from the Protein Technologies Unit, were $13.6 Million compared with $10.2 Million in 2008.

Net Losses were reduced significantly to $9.3 Million for 2009 compared to $20.2 Million in 2008. Net losses for the Protein Technologies unit were $0.9 Million for 2009 compared to $6 Million in 2008. The losses were reduced significantly due to the combination of increased revenues and the systematic reduction of expenses. 

Non-rechargeable research and development expenses decreased to $9.3 Million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $15.8 Million for the same period in 2008.

Administrative and marketing expenses decreased to $4.6 Million for the year ended December 31, 2009 from $5.3 Million for the year ended December 31, 2008.

Cash and cash equivalent as at December 31, 2009 was $0.5 Million compared to $0.9 Million in 2008. During the first quarter of 2010, a cash injection of $14 million was provided to the company through the transaction with Abraxis.

Conference Call Details

A conference call and webcast for ProMetic's highlights and 2009 financial results will be held on Wednesday, March 31, 2009, at 10:30 (EDT).

The numbers to access the conference call are (416) 673-6196 (international) and 1 (888) 999-9261 (toll free). A live audio webcast of the conference call will be available through ProMetic's website at http://www.prometic.com/en/news-events/events.php.

A replay of the call will be available by telephone for a period of seven days as of Wednesday, March 31, 2010, at 12:00 (EDT). The numbers to access the audio replay are (416) 915-1035 (international) and 1 (886) 245-6755 (toll free) using access code 960601. The replay of the web cast may be downloaded directly from ProMetic's web site.

About ProMetic Life Sciences Inc.

ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. ("ProMetic") (www.prometic.com) is a biopharmaceutical company specialized in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of a variety of commercial applications derived from its proprietary Mimetic Ligand™ technology. This technology is used in large-scale purification of biologics and the elimination of pathogens. ProMetic is also active in therapeutic drug development with the mission to bring to market effective, innovative, lower cost, less toxic products for the treatment of hematology and cancer. Its drug discovery platform is focused on replacing complex, expensive proteins with synthetic "drug-like" protein mimetics. Headquartered in Montréal (Canada), ProMetic has R&D facilities in the U.K., the U.S. and Canada, manufacturing facilities in the U.K. and business development activities in the US, Europe, Asia and in the Middle-East.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements about ProMetic's objectives, strategies and businesses that involve risks and uncertainties. These statements are "forward-looking" because they are based on our current expectations about the markets we operate in and on various estimates and assumptions. Actual events or results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements if known or unknown risks affect our business, or if our estimates or assumptions turn out to be inaccurate. Such risks and assumptions include, but are not limited to, ProMetic's ability to develop, manufacture, and successfully commercialize value-added pharmaceutical products, the availability of funds and resources to pursue R&D projects, the successful and timely completion of clinical studies, the ability of ProMetic to take advantage of business opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry, uncertainties related to the regulatory process and general changes in economic conditions. You will find a more detailed assessment of the risks that could cause actual events or results to materially differ from our current expectations on page 24 of ProMetic's Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2009, under the heading "Risk and Uncertainties related to ProMetic's business". As a result, we cannot guarantee that any forward-looking statement will materialize. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statement even if new information becomes available, as a result of future events or for any other reason, unless required by applicable securities laws and regulations. All amounts are in Canadian dollars unless indicated otherwise.

Contact Information

  • Company inquiries:
    ProMetic Life Sciences Inc.
    Pierre Laurin, President and CEO
    514-341-2115
    p.laurin@prometic.com
    or
    ProMetic Life Sciences Inc.
    Anne Leduc
    Manager, Investor Relations & Communications
    514-341-2115
    a.leduc@prometic.com