Biopotential Capital Inc.

March 22, 2005 09:00 ET

Biopotential Capital Inc. Announces Signing of a Licensing Agreement for a Novel Alzheimer's Diagnostic Technology by Osta Biopharma Inc.


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: BIOPOTENTIAL CAPITAL INC.

TSX VENTURE SYMBOL: BPI.P

MARCH 22, 2005 - 09:00 ET

Biopotential Capital Inc. Announces Signing of a
Licensing Agreement for a Novel Alzheimer's Diagnostic
Technology by Osta Biopharma Inc.

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - March 22, 2005) - Biopotential Capital
Inc. (TSX VENTURE:BPI.P), a capital pool company listed on the TSX
Venture Exchange, is pleased to announce the signing of a licensing
agreement for a novel Alzheimer's diagnostic technology by Osta
Biopharma Inc. (Osta), the Montreal-based private company which
Biopotential has agreed to acquire as its qualifying transaction,
subject to acceptance by the TSX Venture Exchange and in accordance with
the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange.

Licensing Agreement for Alzheimer's Diagnostic Technology

Osta has signed a licensing agreement with Dr. Hyman M. Schipper and the
Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital (JGH) to develop and
commercialize a novel diagnostic blood test for Alzheimer's disease (AD)
on a world-wide exclusive basis. Currently, there are no commercial
blood-based biological markers with proven utility in the evaluation of
patients with sporadic (non-familial) AD. In addition, the licensing
agreement gives rights to Osta on a world-wide exclusive basis to
develop and commercialize transgenic animal models and therapeutics for
AD based on the licensed technology.

The licensed diagnostic/prognostic technology has been developed by Dr.
Hyman M. Schipper, a Professor of Neurology & Medicine at McGill
University and the Director of Centre for Neurotranslational Research at
the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, JGH. The technology is
based on a key protein called Heme Oxygenase-1 (HO-1). The presence of a
plasma HO-1 suppressor (HOS) activity has been shown for the first time
by Dr. Schipper to distinguish AD patients from normal young controls
(NYC), normal elderly controls (NEC), people with mild cognitive
impairment (MCI) and people suffering from Parkinson's Disease (PD). In
a clinical study conducted at the JGH involving a total of 82 subjects,
the % HOS activity was found to be 9% in the plasma of NYC subjects, 13%
in the plasma of NEC subjects, 38% in the plasma of MCI subjects, 72% in
the plasma of AD patients (P less than 0.001 relative to NEC, P less
than 0.001 relative to MCI) and 29% in the plasma of PD patients. Dr.
Schipper's results indicate that measurement of plasma HOS activity may
provide an exciting new biological marker for the evaluation of patients
with dementing diseases and form the basis of a novel and revolutionary
blood test for the accurate diagnosis/prognosis of sporadic
(non-familial) AD.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of adult-onset dementia. The
causes of AD are not known, but major risk factors include old age and a
family history of dementia. However, the incidence of familial AD is
less than 10% of the total, suggesting other important factors besides
genetic mutations.

At present, the degree of cognitive impairment is assessed by physicians
using Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), neuropsychology, blood tests
to exclude potentially reversible causes of memory loss and
neuroimaging. However, these techniques are tedious, expensive and often
inconclusive. There are several genetic markers such as Presenilin-1,
Presenilin-2, and mutant APP that can identify relatively uncommon (
less than 10%) cases of familial AD but have no role in the management
of patients with the far more prevalent sporadic forms of the illness.
Measurements of CSF-Tau and CSF-Amyloid have proven to be useful
biomarkers of sporadic AD, but these measurements require a relatively
invasive spinal tap that is not ideal for the mass screening of patients
with memory loss. The development of plasma HOS activity as a reliable
test for the early diagnosis and prognosis of sporadic AD would
represent a breakthrough in the management of this devastating
neurodegenerative condition.

Dr. Ajay Gupta, Osta's Chairman & CEO, commented "we are very pleased to
have licensed this exciting technology from Dr. Schipper and the JGH.
The addition of this technology to our growing portfolio of exciting
diagnostic and therapeutic products has strengthened our commitment to
developing novel medical solutions for the aging population. We plan to
scale up the clinical studies for the validation of HOS factor as a
biomarker for AD diagnosis/prognosis, obtain approval for marketing from
regulatory agencies such as US FDA and license it out for
commercialization to diagnostic companies world-wide in about 2 years
and initiate the development of novel AD therapeutics based on this
promising technology".

Status of Qualifying Transaction

Biopotential also announces that it has filed a draft filing statement
and supporting documentation with regulatory authorities in connection
with the proposed qualifying transaction.

Trading in the securities of a capital pool company should be considered
highly speculative. The TSX Venture Exchange has in no way passed upon
the merits of the proposed transaction and has neither approved nor
disapproved the contents of this press release.

Certain information in this press release is forward-looking and is
subject to numerous risks and uncertainties. By their nature, such
forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could
cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the
forward-looking statements. These risks include actions of Osta's
competitors, and those inherent in scientific research and development.

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Contact Information

  • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
    Biopotential Capital Inc.
    Jim Beckerleg
    President and Treasurer
    (514) 841-9725
    or
    Osta Biopharma Inc.
    Dr. Ajay Gupta
    Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
    (514) 426-8203
    The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy
    or accuracy for this release.