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ICPBIO Expansion on Track

Media Statement
10 October 2006


ICPBIO Expansion on Track

* ICPbio on track to meet projected full year result to June 2007 of $25.7 million revenue
* Consent granted and construction underway to complete multi-million dollar plasma fractionation facility
* State-of-the-art equipment has arrived from the USA and Europe
* ICPbio recognised as a key business in economic development of Waitakere region


Statement made by Dr Earl Stevens, Managing Director, ICP Biotechnology Limited

ICPbio has had its building consent application approved and construction is now underway on the company’s multi-million dollar specialist manufacturing site in Henderson, West Auckland. The new base for ICPbio’s 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week plasma fractionation operation is expected to be completed by mid-November.

The new facility will be housed in a 24,000 sq ft premises leased in June 2006. The final cost of the project will be in the order of $7–8 million, much of which will be spent between now and Christmas and will underpin the financial projections for the 2007 financial year.

Overall, the company is on track to meet its projected full year result to June 2007 of $25.7 million revenue and an EBITDA of $6.1 million.

The company is in the final stages of procuring the equipment for the new facility. Over 30 tonnes of chromatography equipment worth close to $2 million dollars has arrived from the USA. This is some of the largest scale equipment of this type ever imported into New Zealand.

Waitakere-based CANAM Construction was appointed in September to manage the construction of the new plasma fractionation and R&D facilities. Working together with the ICPbio engineering team CANAM finalised the details and design elements required to complete the project. They also managed the building consent process with Waitakere City Council. ICPbio is recognised by Waitakere City Council as one of the key businesses contributing considerably to the City’s economic development.

Process Developments Limited from Wellington is working with ICPbio to finalise the detail of the design and process engineering associated with the new plant and equipment in the new plasma fractionation facility. Process Developments is a recognised process engineering expert, utilised by many key industries in New Zealand. It was involved earlier in the year with the initial scale up of the plasma fractionation to two tonnes per week, and also carried out a Strategic Facility Review to identify space and processing requirements through to 2016 based on the company’s business plans.

To run this equipment ICPbio has ordered five “state of the art” AKTAProcess controllers from GE Healthcare, worth over $1.5 million. The first two AKTAProcess controllers have arrived and are being put to work immediately. These controllers are the first ones to ever be sold in New Zealand and are at the top end of the range of their class. GE Healthcare is presently building the balance in Sweden with delivery planned over the next six to eight weeks. When completed it will be one of GE Healthcare’s largest installations in the southern hemisphere. ICPbio will work closely with GE Healthcare to endorse the benefits of the integrated process control in terms of productivity and consistent highest product quality.

In addition, ICPbio has finalised specifications for its new freeze driers which are being built by Nelson-based Cuddon Freeze Dry. The expected cost of the final freeze drying installation is close to $3 million and this aspect of the expansion will be operational early next year as there is a ten to twelve week lead-time on delivery and installation.

Various other items of plant and equipment are either on order or close to being ordered for installation in October–November. In the interim, the company is using its existing smaller freezer drier for some products and contracting out the bulk freeze drying to a New Zealand contract processor.

Once the facility is fully completed and all the new equipment is in place ICPbio will be able to scale up processing by over six-fold on a weekly basis, with the capacity to extract up to $3 million of proteins per week by early next year.

During September ICPbio completely overhauled its Sterile Manufacturing facility at a cost of more than $300,000 to ensure a higher standard of operation and ongoing compliance with the GMP standards it operates under locally and internationally.

The company has also upgraded its serum processing facility and during September and manufactured multiple two tonne batches for a new multinational vaccine manufacturer client in India. The serum facility upgrade has cost approximately $100,000 and gives the company the ability to process batches of up to five tonnes at a time. The target this financial year is to process over $4 million dollars worth of serum for export markets.

During the first week of October ICPbio moved its R&D team into the newly fitted out R&D laboratory at 37-39 Waipareira Ave. The new R&D laboratory is three to four times larger than the old laboratory and will enable the company to double the size of the R&D team on the back of the $402,000 Tech NZ grant obtained earlier in the year. This expansion is a key to the ongoing development of a much wider range of biological products derived from by-products of the New Zealand meat industry.

Unlike other biotechnology companies, ICPbio’s success is not dependent on discovering and exploiting its own novel drug discovery intellectual property but instead focuses on the low risk, high return end of the biotechnology market – and adding significant value to New Zealand farming sector output. ICPbio manufactures the media, serums and biochemicals pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies use to make, test, store, and deliver their products.


ENDS

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