August 7, 2008
Miraculins to License Portfolio of Diagnostic Biomarkers for Preeclampsia From Mount Sinai Hospital
Miraculins Inc. (TSX VENTURE: MOM), a medical diagnostic company focused on developing and commercializing diagnostic tests for unmet clinical needs is pleased to announce that it has signed a term sheet with Mount Sinai Hospital to acquire a portfolio of biomarkers for use in developing diagnostic assays for the early detection of preeclampsia, a disease of growing incidence and the leading cause of maternal and prenatal deaths worldwide.
Preeclampsia is a devastating disease of pregnancy that manifests abruptly and is characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of significant amounts of protein in the urine. In the most severe cases it can progress into eclampsia which often results in seizure, stroke, coma and death. Presently, the disease is diagnosed by its symptoms, which are non-specific to preeclampsia, and as a result there is currently no reliable test that can accurately predict its onset. The panel of markers being acquired by Miraculins has shown evidence of its ability to diagnose the disease in its earliest stages. A reliable test for pre-eclampsia has the potential to be used as a general screen for all pregnant women, representing a market of 6.4 million women annually in the US alone.
The technology was discovered through pioneering research conducted by Dr. Isabella Caniggia and Dr. Stephen Lye of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, and Dr. Martin Post of the Hospital for Sick Children. One of the promising biomarkers in the portfolio acquired by Miraculins is endoglin, a cell surface glycoprotein which was recently the key focus of a major study published in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled "Soluable Endoglin and Other Circulating Antiangiogenic Factors in Preeclampsia". Under the direction of experts from institutions across the United States, the paper reports that endoglin increases in week 17 - 20 of gestation and that it also plays a role in identifying the highest risk patients. An endoglin immunoassay will provide a strong base from which the Company can build its commercialization plan.
"This is a very important day for all Miraculins stakeholders", stated Christopher J. Moreau, president and CEO of Miraculins. "This is the first transaction for the Company after recently announcing our new focus on technology that has completed early research and discovery work. It clearly demonstrates the need for a Company such as Miraculins to bridge the gap between the discovery of quality technology and its commercialization and shows Miraculins capacity to work with world-class research institutions such as Mount Sinai Hospital."
"Cases of preeclampsia continue to increase as more women are using in-vitro fertilization, having multiples, and getting pregnant at an older age, which all contribute to the increased risk of developing this serious disease", said Dr. Isabella Caniggia, an inventor of the technology, and leading research authority on placental development and its associated pathologies at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital. "Our goal is to develop a diagnostic test so that physicians don't have to rely on symptoms alone to determine if a patient has preeclampsia, and I am very excited to be working with the Miraculins team to achieve this goal and ensure better outcomes for mothers and babies."
"The quality of the research and peer-reviewed publications by Dr. Caniggia and her collaborators, combined with the independent New England Journal of Medicine study showing the power of endoglin, clearly establishes the quality of this biomarker portfolio", said Dr. Stephen Frost, Director of Research & Development at Miraculins. "We immediately plan to begin executing an aggressive development plan with the objective of helping millions of women around the world at risk from this potentially fatal condition."
Further details of the agreement will be made available upon execution of the full licensing agreement, expected to occur within 45 days.
Preeclampsia affects 3 million mothers worldwide every year and is associated with premature births and infant illness including cerebral palsy, blindness, epilepsy, deafness and lung conditions. There is no effective detection method for the risk of preeclampsia and the cause is unknown. It is estimated that preeclampsia costs the global health care system US$3 billion per year.
About the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital
The Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, a University of Toronto affiliated research centre established in 1985, is one of the world's leading centres in biomedical research. 32 principal investigators lead research in diabetes, cancer biology, epidemiology, stem cell research, women's and infants' health, neurobiology and systems biology. For more information on the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, please visit www.mshri.on.ca.
About Miraculins Inc.
Miraculins is a medical diagnostic development company focused on non-invasive tests for unmet clinical needs. Miraculins is bridging the gap between commercially available diagnostic tests and research conducted at leading research institutions around the world.
Through an internal biomarker discovery research program, Miraculins has advanced its prostate cancer diagnostic technology through to the development stage. The Company's lead product in development, P2V(TM), is a simple urine test to be used as a pre-biopsy screen to eliminate a number of men who would otherwise undergo unnecessary prostate biopsy surgery.
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Contacts: Miraculins Inc. Christopher J. Moreau President and CEO (204) 477-7599 (204) 453-1546 (FAX) Email: [email protected] Website: www.miraculins.com
SOURCE: Miraculins Inc.