Primera Bioscience Research Inc.

August 10, 2011 12:52 ET

Primera Bioscience Research Inc. Announces Research Project With SickKids has Achieved Next Major Milestones

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 10, 2011) - Primera Bioscience Research Inc. ("Primera Bioscience" or the "Corporation") announces that The Hospital for Sick Children ("SickKids") in Toronto, Ontario, has presented the 2011 report to Primera's Board on the research completed to date into stem cells in certain brain tumours. This on-going project has been funded by Primera Bioscience since February 2008 and Primera Bioscience is entitled to 10% of the proceeds from commercialization derived from the project.

The Dr. Peter Dirks laboratory is now testing a number of drugs that showed effectiveness on blocking human brain tumour stem cell growth in culture for their ability to block human tumour growth in animal models, which is the key stepping stone to move a drug to trials for human patients. This is the work Primera Bioscience Research Inc. is supporting.

To date, five compounds have been identified as having activity against the brain tumor stem cells under study. Some have shown activity towards medulloblastoma stem cells while others have been active against glioblastoma stem cells. These compounds will be cross-tested against the other brain tumor stem cells to determine whether these compounds are equally effective against both the medulloblastoma and glioblastoma stem cells under study. SickKids is working towards the first set of "go/no go" decisions to advance to clinical trial for its first five drugs.

In addition, SickKids has narrowed the pool of potential compounds to a set of 50 compounds showing the most promising activity towards glioblastoma stem cells. With this smaller pool of compounds, glioblastoma stem cell lines can now be efficiently screen against all 50 compounds relatively quickly. This opens up the opportunity for "real time" screening of a patient's own cancer tumor stem cells within 10-12 weeks of receiving a sample. Once a sample is received, the stem cell line can be cultured, at which point the culture can be screened against all 50 compounds. Theoretically, several compounds that demonstrate activity during screening against the patient's own cancer stem cells could then be given to the patient clinically to target the stem cells. This is a form of personalized medicine in that treatments can be targeted using those compounds most likely to produce a result for each individual patient.

SickKids has received support from the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research (OICR) to test this hypothesis. The study will perform real time testing on 8 to 10 new patient glioblastomas, including growing the patient's own stem cell line in culture, testing the stem cells against the 50 compounds, and determining the most promising candidates for each patient. Funding for this proof of principle study will come, in part, from the final $100,000 payment made by Primera to SickKids in February 2010.

For any agent that shows effectiveness in the animal models, SickKids's goal will be to move quickly to establishing a clinical trial for that agent. To perform a clinical trial, SickKids will have to raise additional funds, through grants from cancer agencies, private companies, or through the establishment of SickKids's own venture capital company.

SickKids will also use one additional strategy to obtain further value from this Project. SickKids will perform in vitro dose response analysis (secondary screens) for the next 50 compounds out of the 160 original hits (41 compounds out of 160 hits were characterized in detail in its initial study). This experiment will determine the next candidate agents (10 to 20 agents are anticipated) for the next phase of testing in vivo. SickKids commenced these experiments early in the first year of this Project, so that any particularly interesting compound will be fast tracked for the in vivo study. For this experiment, the 50 compounds will be ordered directly from the source manufacturer.

Primera Bioscience is engaged in early stage biotech and related research. The Corporation currently has one project which is to collaborate with and provide $300,000 of funding for certain brain tumour and stem cell research being conducted by SickKids in Toronto, Ontario. This research is more fully described in the prospectus of Primera Bioscience dated July 23, 2008 and subsequent disclosures which are filed on www.sedar.com.

WARNING: This News Release includes certain "forward-looking statements". All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this release, including, without limitation, statements regarding research and the potential results thereof, and future plans and objectives of Primera Bioscience, are forward-looking statements that involve various risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from Primera Bioscience's expectations include research and other risks detailed in the filings made by Primera Bioscience with securities regulators and available at www.sedar.com.

No stock exchange, securities commission or other regulatory authority has approved or disapproved the information contained herein.

Contact Information

  • Primera Bioscience Research Inc.
    Carolyn J. Rayfield
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    (416) 505-0425
    (416) 352-5693 (FAX)
    carolyn@rayfieldconsulting.com