SOURCE: CzechInvest

May 19, 2005 12:28 ET

Czech Republic: Europe's New Biotech Corridor at BIO 2005

CzechInvest to Showcase Czech Republic's Biotech Sector at Annual Convention

SAN MATEO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 19, 2005 -- CzechInvest, the Investment and Business Development Agency of the Czech Republic, today announced the Czech Republic will showcase leading Czech-based biotechnology companies at the upcoming Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) annual convention, BIO 2005, June 19-22 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

"The Czech Republic is becoming the biotechnology corridor of Central and Eastern Europe," says Radomil Novák, Chief Executive Officer of CzechInvest. "This emergent technology sector is garnering international acclaim for its breakthroughs in stem cell research, hepatitis and AIDS (HIV) treatments, and for leading-edge biotechnology-nanotechnology processes."

Several biotechnology Czech companies will exhibit at BIO 2005, including:

--  I.Q.A., which develops new drugs for treating cancer and HIV and
    improves the performance and effectiveness of established drugs. The first
    venture-funded life sciences company in Central and Eastern Europe, I.Q.A
    was spun-off by leading scientists at the Czech-based Research Institute
    for Pharmacy and Biochemistry. The company's clients include Merck and
    Boehringer Ingelheim. The company has experienced a 70 percent year-to-year
    increase in revenue in 2004.
    
--  BioVendor Laboratory Medicine, Inc., a firm specializing in the
    production and distribution of in vitro research products for molecular and
    cellular laboratory medicine. The company's team focuses on the development
    of ELISA Kits, which detect and measure antigens or antibodies. BioVendor
    has worldwide distribution and locations in North Carolina and Germany.
    
--  Exbio, one of the first spins-off of the Czech Republic's Academy of
    Sciences 13 years ago. Exbio collaborates with leading Czech-based academic
    institutions to commercialize key discoveries. The company manufactures and
    supplies antibodies for worldwide distribution and oversees research-and-
    development efforts for hybridoma technology and construction of
    recombinant proteins and antibodies.
    
--  Division of Radiopharmaceuticals (at the Nuclear Research Institute
    Rež plc), which develops new, targeted therapeutic drugs by producing
    radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The
    division's research-and-development activities focus on developing
    technologies to use monoclonal and recombinant antibodies for labelling
    with different radionuclides.
    
The Czech biotechnology sector is internationally recognized for its world-renowned discoveries and breakthroughs in the sciences, including:
--  Dr. Antonin Holy, whose work in the development of new treatments for
    the suppression of AIDS (HIV) and hepatitis at the Institute of Organic
    Chemistry and Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
    resulted in 2001 and 2002 U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of
    Viread, a treatment for AIDS, and Hepsera, a B-hepatitis drug. Both were
    produced by Gilead Sciences and based on a compound discovered in Dr.
    Holy's Prague laboratory.
    
--  Czech Republic experts who lead cutting-edge research into the
    controversial area of human embryonic stem cells. For example, Doctor Ptr
    Dvorak and his team made international headlines in 2003 when they isolated
    a new line of human embryonic stem cells, or ESLs. Many laboratories
    worldwide have tried to derive human ESLs and only three have accomplished
    this critical step. The leading international scientific journal in the
    field, "Stem Cells" is slated to publish a paper detailing Dvorak's latest
    findings, which focus on a potential mechanism for keeping human stem cells
    in their original "blank" state.
    
Czech Republic scientists also are spearheading research resulting in the convergence of nanotechnology and biotechnology.
--  Alltracel Pharmaceuticals Plc., (AIM: AP.L), a healthcare technology
    company focused on consumer wound care, oral care and coronary health
    markets, recently announced a technology-and-product development agreement
    with nanofibre technology specialists Elmarco s.r.o., a Czech-based
    company, for the development of a next generation delivery platform for
    Alltracel's m-doc™ technology. Elmarco is a specialist research-and-
    development and manufacturing company focusing in advanced manufacturing
    for the semiconductor components industry as well as equipment for
    industrial production of nanofibrous non-woven materials.
    
    Working with the Textiles Faculty of the Technical University of
    Liberec, scientists at Elmarco have developed a novel, proprietary and
    patented process for spinning polymers into nano-scale fibers for a
    range of industrial, chemical, micro-electronic and bio-medical
    applications.
    
Also, established international leaders continue to invest and expand in the Czech Republic. Baxter International recently opened one of two state-of-the-art facilities for the production of cell-cultured derived and recombinant vaccines. Lonza Biotec s.r.o, part of Lonza Group, headquartered in Switzerland, has been investing in the Czech Republic since 1992 and is currently expanding its facilities with 60 million USD in additional investment.

"Foreign life sciences companies have been attracted to the nation by our highly skilled, educated, and innovative workforce," Novák said. "We look forward to sharing our success and vision for the future at BIO 2005."

About CzechInvest

CzechInvest, the Investment and Business Development Agency, is an agency of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Established in 1992, the agency contributes to attracting foreign investment and developing domestic companies through its services and development programs. CzechInvest promotes the Czech Republic abroad and acts as an intermediary between the EU and small and medium-sized enterprises in implementing structural funds. For more information, www.CzechInvest.org.

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