ProMetic Life Sciences Inc.
TSX : PLI

ProMetic Life Sciences Inc.

March 31, 2009 19:30 ET

ProMetic Announces Highlights and Year End Financials for 2008

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 31, 2009) -

- 2008 revenue reached $10.2 M

- Q4 2008 revenue increased by 130% to $4 M versus Q4 2007

- PBI-1402 - New value-enhancing data obtained

- Prion capture resin scaled-up to commercial use by Octapharma AG & MacoPharma SA

ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX:PLI) ("ProMetic") today reported on its business highlights and financial results for the year ended December 31, 2008. Additionally, ProMetic announces that its 2008 Annual Report has been filed on Sedar (www.sedar.com) and is now available on its web site at www.prometic.com.

"Revenues for the second half of 2008 attained over $7 M, a clear sign that the Protein Technologies Unit is growing and providing recurring revenues," remarked Mr. Pierre Laurin, President and Chief Executive Officer of ProMetic. Mr. Laurin added: "Our objective for 2009 is to grow the Company to the point where it is self-sufficient. Going forward, we aim to continue sustaining our growth while minimizing our reliance on capital markets".

"With such an objective, we must maintain the fine balance between activities which generate profit, and activities that generate substantial longer-term value. With this in mind, we communicated in the third quarter of 2008 the strategic decision to focus on revenue generating activities driven by our Protein Technologies Unit, to reduce our expenditures relating to our Therapeutic Unit's research and development activities, and to focus our efforts on partnering activities for PBI-1402," stated Mr. Laurin.

In March 2009, ProMetic entered into a loan agreement for $5 M with an initial $2 M of debt financing provided to the Company and access to a further $3 M, subject to certain conditions. Moreover ProMetic's UK subsidiary, ProMetic BioSciences Ltd ("PBL") received a $540,000 interest free repayable working capital grant from the Isle of Man Department of Trade & Industry.

Highlights

Protein Technologies

Bioseparation - Affinity adsorbents

ProMetic's proprietary affinity adsorbents are essential to the manufacture of therapeutic proteins. Presently 10 biopharmaceutical products or medical devices relying on ProMetic's technology have received regulatory approval for sale by the FDA or the European Medicines Agency. In addition, there are more than 20 other companies now scaling up products using ProMetic's bioseparation platform. ProMetic's affinity technology is used in a variety of different ways including the removal of specific contaminants to provide increased yields, higher purities and, as a result, ProMetic has helped its clients to significantly reduce their purification costs.

In 2008, ProMetic launched its latest product, Fabsorbent™ F1P, a unique purification adsorbent with broad applicability that addresses the manufacturing needs of a new generation of monoclonal antibody fragments. Fabsorbent™ F1P has been developed in response to demands from companies that have, in the past, relied on Protein L or traditional multi-step methods for the capture and purification of antibody fragments. Fabsorbent™ F1P is marketed directly by ProMetic, thus creating additional revenue prospects.

In the fall of 2008, ProMetic concluded an agreement with Abraxis BioScience, Inc. in the U.S. for the development and commercialization of four biopharmaceutical products. The transaction included an initial strategic investment in ProMetic of $7.4 M at $0.47 per share, and revenues deriving from three further agreements.

Throughout 2008, consistent progress has been achieved on development activities for different projects including:

- Kedrion S.p.A. of Italy, which incorporated ProMetic's high-yield technology in the manufacturing of a biopharmaceutical;

- The Wuhan Institute of Biological Products in China which allows for the access to ProMetic's yield improving manufacturing technology for the processing of over 1.2 million liters of plasma annually and the commercialization of seven plasma-derived products for the Chinese market;

- Blue Blood Biotech Corporation of Taiwan integrates ProMetic's proprietary manufacturing process for the development of valuable therapeutic products derived from human plasma.

Earlier this year, the Protein Technologies Unit, in concurrence with the continuing progress of its activities with its established partners has furthermore entered into a collaborative development agreement with HemCon Medical Technologies Inc. ("HemCon") for a sterile, single-use antibody capture device for the removal of isoagglutinin antibodies:

- Development agreement targets $500 M US market opportunity;

- HemCon will fund development program and both companies will jointly own all collaboration technology;

- Incorporation of ProMetic's technology with HemCon's Lyophilized Plasma System will result in a stable and universally applicable plasma product for emergency use by HemCon's military and civilian customers that avoids the requirement to match plasma.

Pathogen Removal - Prion Capture

The Pathogen Removal and Diagnostic Technologies Inc.("PRDT") co-development venture between ProMetic and the American Red Cross ("ARC") has resulted in an assortment of adsorbents for the removal of prions from blood and various blood products, thus increasing their safety.

Octapharma AG ("Octapharma"), one of the world's most prominent plasma fractionators has taken a proactive stance against vCJD by incorporating PRDT's prion capture technology into the manufacturing process of Octaplas®, a solvent / detergent treated plasma. Octapharma's objective was to further improve the prion safety margin documented for this biopharmaceutical. In 2008 ProMetic concluded the scale-up of PRDT resin manufacture as part of the program of work with Octapharma.

Moreover, in late spring 2008, Octapharma published extensive data on the utility of PRDT's prion capture technology, providing powerful testimony for the efficacy of this product to the global industry. Octaplas® has been submitted for regulatory approval by Octapharma.

Over the last year, the PRDT prion capture resins have been evaluated by an increasing number of biopharmaceutical companies for the manufacture of their blood-derived products.

The P-Capt® prion filter, marketed by MacoPharma SA ("MacoPharma") for red blood cell concentrates has also made significant in-roads in 2008. PRDT's technology also forms the essential component of the revolutionary P-Capt® filter, a prion reduction device developed in partnership with MacoPharma. This state-of-the-art filter reduces the risk of transmission of vCJD (a fatal brain disease) through donated blood.

Ireland has successfully completed its initial evaluation of the P-Capt® filter, and is now progressing towards the adoption process while using the filter for a controlled number of patients. The UK National Blood Service that incorporates the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service has also initiated clinical trials with the P-Capt® filter.

ProMetic through its prion capture resins has successfully brought forward tangible solutions to address vCJD issues and improve the safety of blood and blood-derived products. MacoPharma, our partner, is executing on the adoption at large of the P-Capt® filter in Europe.

Update on PBI-1402

In 2008, the FDA introduced warnings of increased mortality and/or tumor progression that resulted in new prescribing guidelines for erythropoiesis-stimulating agents ("ESAs"). Ironically, the new FDA guidelines created a perception that all anemia drugs were equal and that these drugs would be prohibited. PBI-1402's primary target is, among other highly potential applications, a treatment for anemia in cancer patients.

PBI-1402 is a first-in-class chemical entity. Its mechanism of action differs radically from that of EPO, as it does not bind to the same cell surface receptor molecule. PBI-1402 sets into motion a cell differentiation process whereas EPO causes red blood cell proliferation.

The focus in 2008 on the generation of data supporting the difference between PBI-1402 and EPO has paid ProMetic a significant dividend. In addition to ProMetic's safety and efficacy data generated from its chemotherapy-induced anemia clinical trial, ProMetic has produced compelling evidence that PBI-1402 is uniquely suited to address this unmet medical need.

Not only is the data supporting the use of PBI-1402 in cancer patients, but it is also further enhancing the potential use of PBI-1402 in patients with chronic kidney disease ("CKD"). The compound has demonstrated nephroprotection properties in pre-clinical studies, a discovery that ProMetic is now more at liberty to discuss since proper patent protection has been secured.

Recent studies in the U.S. show CKD is one of the most expensive diseases to treat, and that costs are increasing rapidly.

As indicated above, ProMetic discovered the nephroprotective activity of PBI-1402 while conducting experiments in anemia relief in the 5/6 nephrectomized rat model. Further to treatment of anemia (increase in hemoglobin level and red blood cells), it was observed that animals treated with PBI-1402 filter blood by the kidney more efficaciously than non-treated animals. Additionally, it was observed that kidneys from PBI-1402-treated animals were structurally conserved compared to non-treated animals. The latter demonstrated kidney fibrosis and sclerosis (holes and loss of tissue).

Therefore, ProMetic has discovered that PBI-1402 can protect kidney tissue and could potentially serve to protect, delay or inhibit the progression of kidney failure in patients with CKD. In today's medical arsenal there is very little recourse for patients who require nephroprotection. ProMetic's scientists believe they have discovered a tremendously important new therapeutic for a huge unmet need.

With the resumption of discussions with many parties regarding the potential financing and / or partnering for PBI-1402, ProMetic has been building further value into this compound by continuing its research and development on PBI-1402 and analogues, and compiling data from all pre-clinical trials to support patent protection.

"This gives us enhanced clarity in our regulatory pathway and even greater confidence in our partnering prospects," stated Mr. Laurin.

Corporate

- ProMetic has appointed Mr. Bruce Wendel to its Board of Directors effective the fourth quarter 2008;

- PBL, ProMetic's UK division, has launched its new web site that features on-line shopping for its bioseparation products and services. The on-line site will give clients the ability to search for information on PBL's products and place orders in a quick and cost-effective manner and will enable the Company to expand its client base and access new markets such as the bioresearch community. Please visit us at www.prometicbiosciences.com or alternatively this site may be accessed through ProMetic's home page at www.prometic.com;

- PBL, ProMetic's UK division, has obtained Approval of Accreditation to ISO9001:2008. This accreditation testifies to ProMetic's continuing development of its quality systems and supports the Company's commitment to quality.

Financials Results

The following information should be read in conjunction with the audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2008 as well as the annual Management Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2008 including results of the fourth quarter.

Fourth Quarter 2008

Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2008 were at $4 M, $2.3 M higher than the same quarter in 2007. This increase is due to the new services agreement signed in 2008 with Kedrion and Abraxis and the selling of a significant quantity of affinity resins from the subsidiary in the UK.

The operating loss decreased significantly during the fourth quarter of 2008 mainly due to the increased gross profit resulting from increased sales. Operating losses were at $3.5 M in the fourth quarter 2008 compared to $5.1 M in the same quarter in 2007, an improvement of $1.7 M.

Cash outflows from operating activities were $1.1 M compared to $5.6 M for the same period in 2007. This decrease is mainly attributed to the fourth quarter 2008 revenues and costs reduction measures.

Full Year 2008

Total revenues for 2008, which were derived from the Protein Technologies Unit, were $10.2 M compared with $8.4 M in 2007. In addition, as at December 31, 2008, deferred revenues were at $1.4 M.

Research and development expenses decreased to $15 8 M for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $16.3 M for the same period in 2007.

Administrative and marketing expenses decreased significantly to $5.3 M for the year ended December 31, 2008 from $6.6 M for the year ended December 31, 2007.

The Company incurred a net loss of $20.2 M for the year ended December 31, 2008 as compared to a net loss of $22.3 M for the year ended December 31, 2007.

Cash and cash equivalent as at December 31, 2008 was $0.9 M compared to $2.2 M in 2007. During the first quarter of 2009, the Company received $2.5 M from a loan and working capital grant in addition to collecting receivables from its trade customers.

Conference Call Details

A conference call and webcast for ProMetic's highlights and 2008 financial results will be held on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, at 09:00 (EST).

The numbers to access the conference call are (416) 644-3417 (international) and 1 (800) 731 6941 (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. Please connect at least five minutes prior to the conference call to ensure adequate time for any software download that may be needed to hear the webcast.

A replay of the call will be available by telephone for a period of seven days as of Wednesday, April 1, 2009, at 12:00 EDT. The numbers to access the audio replay are (416) 640-1917 (international) and 1 (877) 289-8525 (toll free) using access code 21302491. Afterwards, 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 Montreal (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 25 of ProMetic's Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2008, 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.

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