VANCOUVER, CANADA: Sirona Biochem Corp. (TSX-V: SBM), an emerging biotech company focused on drug development for diabetes and obesity, announced today the fourth major appointment this month to its Scientific Advisory Board, Professor B. Mario Pinto, one of Canada’s leading chemical biologists.
Professor Pinto is a pioneer in the field of chemical biology having developed novel NMR/molecular modeling protocols for protein structure determination and the study of ligand topographies essential for drug and vaccine design. His work also involves the synthesis of antiviral and antibacterial drugs, bacterial vaccines, and new methods of viral control.
Sirona Biochem CEO, Dr. Howard Verrico, said, “Professor Pinto, who is Vice President of Research at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC, leads a world class group of researchers studying the nature and origin of carbohydrate mimicry for the purpose of drug and vaccine design.
“One of his group’s specific goals is the development of drug candidates for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.
“His knowledge, perspective and experience will be of considerable value to Sirona Biochem through his participation on the Scientific Advisory Board, especially as it relates to carbohydrate mimicry, an area we are intimately involved in,” stated Dr. Verrico.
Professor Pinto commented “Our group studies the nature and origin of carbohydrate mimicry for the purpose of drug and vaccine design. We take our leads from Nature. Our goals are an ever greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms of recognition so that we can tailor specific immune responses or inhibit specific enzyme reactions. The results of which have implications for the control and treatment of various diseases, including Type 2 diabetes and cancer.”
Professor Pinto has authored 168 refereed scientific papers, 147 other publications which include books and technical reports, and has numerous memberships and awards, including the 1992 Horace S. Isbell Award from the Carbohydrate Division of the American Chemical Society of which he is a member, the 1993 Merck Frosst Award of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC), the 2002 Bernard Belleau Award of the CSC, and the 2005 British Columbia Innovation Council Frontiers in Research Award. He is also a member of the Royal Society of Canada and is Chair of its Selection Committee for the Rutherford Memorial in Chemistry Medal. He has served as the President of the International Carbohydrate Organization, and serves as the Vice-President of the Canadian Society for Chemistry.
Sirona Biochem owns the worldwide product rights to a library of unique sodium glucose transporter (SGLT) inhibitors to treat diabetes and obesity. SGLT inhibitors help block the reuptake of excess sugars from urine, which can then reduce high blood sugar towards normal levels. The management of blood sugar levels is the primary medical challenge in treating diabetes.
Sirona Biochem has a strategic partnership with TFChem, a drug discovery company based in Rouen, France. TFChem licenses its technology of fluorinated carbohydrate mimics: GlycoMim®, and products in development, to biotech companies. This strategic partnership was completed by a detailed research and licence agreement signed one year ago. Over two million Canadians and more than 23 million Americans have diabetes. The diabetes drug market reached US$18 billion in 2005, and is expected to increase to $21-25 billion by 2011.
Obesity has also become a major health problem for many post-industrial societies, so much so that in 2004, the United States Health and Human Services declared obesity to be a disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that globally, in 2005, 1.6 billion adults were overweight with at least 400 million adults obese. By 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and 700 million will be obese. Obesity poses a major health risk because it greatly increases the risk of co-morbidities such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and cancer.
Sirona Biochem Corp. (TSX: V – SBM) is an emerging biotech company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel drug compounds. The current focus is on treatments for Type II diabetes and obesity. Sirona has entered into a license agreement with TFChem S.A.R.L., a drug discovery company based in Rouen, France. TFChem licenses its technology of fluorinated carbohydrate mimics: GlycoMim®, and products in development, to biotech companies. The license agreement with TFChem provides for research and development of new compounds known as SGLT Inhibitors. www.sironabiochem.com
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