Microbix Achieves Full Utilization of its Bioreactors
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, May 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Microbix Biosystems Inc. (TSX: MBX, Microbix®), an award-winning life sciences innovator and exporter, announces that it has achieved full utilization of the six bioreactor units it installed for manufacturing the “antigens” which are at the core of immunoassays that establish exposure or immunity to the Rubella virus, the cause of German Measles.
This marks a milestone for Microbix shareholders, as product from subsequent bioreactor batches will more fully realize the gross margin benefits of multiple units being run in parallel by the same personnel. Product deliveries from this level of operations will start to be made as of October, 2020 – realizing the originally intended gross margin benefits in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 and beyond.Cameron Groome, President and CEO, stated, “I invite all Microbix stakeholders to join me in thanking our talented professionals for enabling us to achieve this strategically important goal. This project involved every department of our company, including R&D, Manufacturing, QC, QA, Sales & Marketing, Finance, and HR. As a result of bioreactor production attaining this level of activity, Microbix should start realizing better and more consistent gross margins from this best-selling and critical antigen product.”Microbix’s intense program has led to it becoming expert in the usage of bioreactors for mammalian cell culture and for production of native-organism viral antigens. It can now reliably produce enough Rubella antigen to supply all demand from its international customer-base of immunoassay test makers. Microbix’s dedicated bioreactor suite has been designed to accommodate up to eight bioreactors. The Company has recently ordered a seventh unit to conduct further process optimization studies. In the future, these more efficient methods may be applied to the production of other viral antigens, and the conversion of Rubella to bioreactors has freed space for more production of other antigens by conventional methods.Microbix began the program to convert its production of this critical “TORCH Panel” test ingredient from traditional “roller bottle” culturing methods to leading-edge bioreactor technology in 2015. Validation of Microbix’s processes and its first commercial sale were achieved in September, 2017. Microbix completed renovations to its facility to accommodate up to eight bioreactors in May, 2018 and it purchased six. After multiple customer-driven timeline extensions, Microbix announced full acceptance of antigen produced via its bioreactor process in August, 2019. Since that time, Microbix has been consuming built-up product inventory and, one-by-one, has been increasing the number of its bioreactors being regularly operated.Financial support for the bioreactor program was provided by Microbix’s many shareholders, with further assistance from the Industrial Research Assistance Program and the FedDev Ontario program of the Government of Canada. Microbix gratefully acknowledges this assistance, as well as the cooperation of its customers in reconfirming the acceptability of bioreactor-produced antigen for their tests.About Microbix Biosystems
Microbix develops proprietary biological and technology solutions for human health and well-being, with approximately 80 skilled employees and sales now usually exceeding $1 million per month on average. It makes a wide range of critical biological materials for the global diagnostics industry, notably antigens for immunoassays and its laboratory quality assessment products (QAPs™) that support clinical lab proficiency testing, enable assay development and validation, or help ensure quality control of clinical diagnostic tests. Microbix antigens and QAPs are sold to many customers worldwide, at present primarily to multinational diagnostics companies and laboratory accreditation organizations. Microbix is ISO 9001 and 13485 accredited, FDA and Health Canada establishment licensed, and provides CE marked products.