Bioniche: Graeme McRae on Bioniche`s Newly Discovered Cancer Killing Bacteria




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Video title: Bioniche: Graeme McRae on Bioniche`s Newly Discovered Cancer Killing Bacteria
Released on: September 22, 2010. © PharmaVentures Ltd
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  • Summary
  • Transcript
  • Participants
  • Company
In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks with Graeme McRae, CEO at Bioniche. Filmed at BioChicago 2010 in Chicago, USA, they discuss:

• Origins and focus of Bioniche

• Mechanism of action behind Bioniche's bladder cancer product

• Scope of the product

• Animal health products

• Drugs in food safety

• Reduction of chances of E-coli breakout

Origins and focus of Bioniche
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BIO International Convention. On this show I have Graeme McRae , who is the Chairman and CEO of a company called Bioniche Life Sciences Inc based on Ontario Canada, welcome to the show.
Graeme McRae:
Thank you very much.
Fintan Walton:
So your company is an interesting company, it's focused in three areas food safety, animal health and human health, tell me about the origins of the company and what you are focused on?
Graeme McRae:
The origin of the company was actually 31-years ago. I came to North America with a major multinational, I was working in their animal health business and I was quite shocked coming from Australia to see the misuse of antibiotics in food producing animals particularly in North America, so I rallied 100 veterinarians as shareholders we created a company to try to develop technologies that could replace antibiotics. That technology works, but was put on the shelf when we found the technology also work as a very effective treatment for bladder cancer. Today we have spent about $120 million of our money, we have taken that product into Phase III, we've got a manufacturing facility a small manufacturing facility in Montreal, Canada and we have just partnered that with a very, very nice company in the United States called Endo, [PharmaDeals ID = 33614] and they have now taken up global rights for the marketing of the bladder cancer product.
Mechanism of action of bladder cancer product
Fintan Walton:
So what is the bladder cancer product? What's it's mechanism about?
Graeme McRae:
Mechanism of action is very interesting it's made from a soil borne mycobacterium which is a non-pathogenic strain of a bacteria, a bacteria family that causes diseases like tuberculosis in humans, and chickens, and cattle and this bacteria we found had all the immune-stimulating properties and anti-cancer killing properties that we wanted without having to deal with the dangerous bacteria. So we break the bacteria into pieces we combined the DNA of the bacteria on to the little pieces of broken cell wall which is a very potent delivery system for the very active DNA of the bacteria that actually kills tumor cells on contact and it also stimulates an immune response which gives a memory on the killed cells, so we hope to have a long-term effect on that cancer treatment.
Scope of the product
Fintan Walton:
So how is it specific, I mean is this is only specific to bladder cancer?
Graeme McRae:
No it's not specific to bladder cancer, we have tested the mechanism of action against about a 120 different types of cancer cells, so we can grow cancer cells in the lab we expose them to this product and we measure the response. So it's a pretty potent anti-cancer treatment, but it doesn't at the doses we need to treat cancer cells it doesn't appear to effect normal cells, so our safety margin is huge. In fact in the Phase III clinical trial just concluded in a 129 patients the only adverse event was a one gentlemen missed one weeks treatment because he didn't feel well, so that's a very very it appears to be a very, very safe product.
Fintan Walton:
So just tell me little bit more about that mechanism of action how that actually works?
Graeme McRae:
Okay, this mycobacterium has a DNA within the mycobacterium, so we rupture the mycobacterium break it into pieces, the DNA is coated on to the little pieces fragments of the cell wall, the DNA in contact with a tumor cell induces apoptosis or programmed cell death in the tumor cell, the cell walls and the DNA stimulate an immune response to back up the actual killing effect of the DNA.
Animal health products
Fintan Walton:
Interesting, So that's one program that you've got and now we can move into animal health, What's happening there?
Graeme McRae:
Well we are taking the products that we have developed now for human cancer and going back and looking at treating animal diseases without using antibiotics. Our first product has just been approved in the United States, it's a product for horses with uterine infection and we find that one small dose of this product given intravenously or intrauterine will clean up a uterine infection in a mare and allow her to be breed and get pregnant instead of using multiple antibiotics to treat that condition. So we are looking out diseases of cattle and horses and so on.
Drug in food safety
Fintan Walton:
Sure, and then we go on food safety?
Graeme McRae:
Yes, food safety is a very interesting area. Some of the scientific community are thinking now that 75% of all new diseases are coming to affect humans from animals. One particular very serious global problem is an E.coli, it's a mutant E.coli, turned up about 30-years ago in the cattle industry it's now global. It's a bacteria that has mutated and picked up, it's an E.coli mutant that picked up the toxin producing ability of a Shigella bacteria, so it's called Shiga toxin-producing E.coli and 10 bacteria can kill a human, but cows can excrete billions of bacteria program of manure, so it gets in the environment, it gets in the water supplies, it gets in meat and in the UK for example there we've had numerous outbreaks in children where they have been taken to farms where they can pet the animals, very serious situation.
Fintan Walton:
Sure, so what's the drug that you've developed?
Graeme McRae:
The drug we've developed is a Vaccines, this bacteria has a unique way of attaching to the intestine of a cow or a human, it uses proteinsto create a receptor site, we grow this bacterium in large quantities, we excite the bacteria then we scare the bacteria to think that it's going to be destroyed it produces loads of these attachment proteins which we separate and make into a Vaccines. So by vaccinating a cow as the bacteria comes down the intestine and tries to attach there are antibodies against these attachment proteins and it can't it just passes out and dies. It's a very, very effective Vaccines.
Fintan Walton:
So what stage in development is that Vaccines?
Graeme McRae:
That product is developed. It's approved for marketing in Canada. With some help from various levels of government in Canada we are building the most modern animal Vaccines facility in Canada and one of the most modern in the world that's under construction right now, this time next year will be launching Vaccines out of that facility. We hope to have a conditional license in the United States in the near future. We have a full license to market in Canada. We're applying for registration now in parts of South America and Australia.
Fintan Walton:
So we can expect hopefully the elimination of this Mutant E.coli?
Graeme McRae:
Yes , it's a Mutant E.coli and elimination is a strong expectation. We would have to vaccinate every cattle-hood many times and you gradually suppress, suppress, suppress and hopefully we can control it as we have controlled many diseases by use of prudent vaccination.
Reduction of chances of E coli breakout
Fintan Walton:
Vaccines, right. And so the benefit to human kind of course is the reduction of chances or reducing the chances of an E.coli breakout in food and from kids playing with the animals?
Graeme McRae:
Yes, exactly now there are other re-precautions to this E.coli. We had an outbreak in a small town in Canada, a town of 5000 people about 10-years ago and of that 5000 people 2500 got sick, seven died including young babies it was a very traumatic event, the cows came to town, they came through the water supply because the water contaminated with runoff from a farm and the chlorination system wasn't properly managed everybody got sick. Of those that have recovered 35% today have crohn's diseases, a large percentage are having strokes, young people having strokes. The toxin has got into the water into their system and has started to damage other organs pancreatic damage, brain damage, et cetera. So 35% of the population with crohn's diseases is very, very high. So hopefully by prudent vaccination, controlled vaccination scheduling, identification of contaminated farms, vaccination probably we should see those sort of outbreaks eliminated hopefully.
Fintan Walton:
It's a fascinating company Graeme McRae and thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Graeme McRae:
Thank you very much.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Graeme McRae
Chairman
Dr. Graeme McRae is Founder of both Vetrepharm Animal Health and Bioniche Inc. (the predecessor companies to Bioniche Life Sciences Inc.Mr. Graeme McRae has had a lengthy and diversified career in the pharmaceutical industry, in Australia and Canada. In 1979, Mr. Graeme McRae founded Vetrepharm Animal Health to focus on research and development in animal health, with a keen desire to develop non-antibiotic solutions for animal health problems. Bioniche Inc. was founded in 1992 by Mr. Graeme McRae to develop Vetrepharm's technologies for human health applications. In 1999, all of the Graeme McRae led companies were merged to become Bioniche Life Sciences Inc .,the name by which the Company is known today. In May 2008, the Board of Directors named Graeme McRae as Chairman, in addition to his role as President & CEO.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Bioniche Life Sciences Inc
Bioniche Life Sciences Inc - The history of Bioniche Life Sciences Inc began in London, Ontario in 1979. Graeme McRae , Chairman, President & CEO, launched a small animal health products company called Vetrepharm with support from a group of Canadian veterinarians. The vision they shared was to develop innovative medicines and vaccines for animal health that would help to reduce the level of antibiotics commonly used in the livestock industry. Over the years, Bioniche Inc has evolved into a research-based, technology-driven Canadian biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets proprietary products for human and animal health markets worldwide. The company now employs approximately 200 people and has three principal reporting divisions: Human Health, Animal Health, and Food Safety. Corporate headquarters are located in Belleville, Ontario, with research, manufacturing, and marketing/sales facilities in Belleville; Montreal, Quebec; Athens, Georgia; Pullman, Washington; and Armidale, Australia. Bioniche Inc is now poised for a new level of growth, with an expanded global presence, and a portfolio of products and technologies in development that promises to have a profound impact on the converging world of human and animal health. Effective therapies for bladder cancer and potentially other cancer; a cattle Vaccine to help prevent E. coli O157:H7 infection; technologies to improve reproduction and potentially replace the use of antibiotics in livestock: these are key areas of strategic focus for Bioniche Inc.