First Venture Technologies Corp.

First Venture Technologies Corp.

April 05, 2007 09:00 ET

First Venture Technologies Corp.: International Agency for Research on Cancer Increases Concern and Reclassifies Ethyl Carbamate as Group 2A Carcinogen

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - April 5, 2007) - First Venture Technologies Corp. (TSX VENTURE:FEB) reports that The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer ("IARC") has reclassified ethyl carbamate (urethane) and is now including it as a Group 2A carcinogen - probably carcinogenic to humans. Contaminants similarly classified as Group 2A carcinogens include acrylamide (found in many snack foods), anabolic steroids, PCB's, diesel engine exhaust, lead-based compounds like arsenic and mercury, and nitrogen mustard (mustard gas). Ethyl carbamate had previously been listed as a 2B - possible carcinogen to humans.

An IARC Monographs Working Group of 26 scientific experts from 15 countries has re-evaluated the potential carcinogenic hazards to humans from consumption of alcoholic beverages and has stated from this that breast and colorectal cancers are associated with alcohol consumption. A separate evaluation was made for ethyl carbamate (urethane), a frequent contaminant of fermented foods and beverages. The Working Group concluded that there is sufficient evidence for carcinogenicity of ethyl carbamate and its metabolites vinyl carbamate and vinyl carbamate epoxide in experimental animals. In making this evaluation, published March 28, 2007, the Working Group noted that (i) experimental evidence suggests great similarities in the metabolic pathways of the activation of ethyl carbamate in rodents and humans; and (ii) the formation of proximate carcinogens that are DNA-reactive and are thought to play a major role in ethyl carbamate-induced carcinogenesis in rodents probably also occurs in human cells. This IARC evaluation goes on to say that ethyl carbamate is genotoxic, mutagenic and clastogenic, especially in the presence of metabolic activation.

"Based on studies like this IARC re-evaluation, the concern and awareness over the natural occurrence of and exposure to ethyl carbamate in many common human diet items like wine and spirits continues to increase," said Geoff Lee, First Venture's Director of Regional Development. "Other organizations such as the US FDA and the UK Food Standards Agency have publicly stated that efforts to reduce ethyl carbamate exposure in alcoholic beverages should continue as technologies will enable. This presents a compelling market need for our proprietary yeast strains, which have been confirmed in published studies to reduce ethyl carbamate in wine substantially beyond currently known methods."

First Venture is working actively with the wine industry and international regulatory community in a cooperative attempt to minimize and solve the natural formation of ethyl carbamate in consumer products at risk. The response from the wine industry has been very positive and product trials are underway in the commercial field. In addition to the wine industry, the company has been fielding inquiries from multiple participants in other areas of the food and beverage manufacturing industry where ethyl carbamate may be an issue.


Howard Louie, President


First Venture is a biotechnology company that develops and commercializes advanced yeast products. The company is currently commercializing a platform yeast technology that substantially reduces the formation of a known carcinogen, ethyl carbamate (or urethane) from food products and alcoholic beverages. The company has licensed the exclusive worldwide rights to the technology from The University of British Columbia (UBC), and is developing the technology in partnership with UBC's world-renowned Wine Research Centre.

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