ICPbio Raises $1.9 Million from Shareholders
20 December 2006
ICPbio Raises $1.9 Million from Shareholders
* Share purchase plan attracts $1.9 million from existing shareholders
* Processing capacity at new facility about to be expanded to 10 tonnes per week
* Factory running 24 hours per day, seven days a week
Statement made by Dr Earl Stevens, Managing Director, ICP Biotechnology Limited
ICPbio has received applications of $1.917 million from its shareholders under the share purchase plan (SPP) which closed on 15 December 2006, representing applications for 10,647,409 shares at 18 cents per share.
This reflects the shareholder support for the “added value to NZ agriculture” business outline presented to shareholders during the recent Roadshow around New Zealand. Since the start of the SPP process and the Roadshow, there has been a marked increase in interest in ICPbio and much more active trading of the BIO stock.
The SPP process has resulted in ICPbio now having a much improved spread of shareholders with marketable parcels which will be useful in underpinning the market liquidity of the BIO stock.
ICPbio has been processing bovine plasma in it new facility since the 20th November at ca. 3 tonnes per week. This week two more of the new control systems have arrived from GE Healthcare and are being installed. The first of the new large chromatography columns has been successfully tested and will be commissioned by late this week. This will bring the processing capacity up to ca. 10 tonnes per week, 4 tonnes per week more than was targeted for December. The factory is operating 24 hours per day, 7 days a week and will only stop for the 4 statutory holidays over the Christmas New Year period.
The two new Cuddon Freeze Driers are scheduled to arrive January 8th 2007 for installation and commissioning over January – mid February. In the meantime ICPbio has contracted the services of Napier-based Freeze Dried Foods who have just received MAF – NZFSA approval to process ICPbio’s bulk plasma proteins. This will enable ICPbio to convert its build up of frozen proteins into the final freeze dried form required by its customers. It will also enable ICPbio to produce regular batches of products over the January – February commissioning period for its own freeze driers. Then Freeze Dried Foods will be able to take on additional bulk processing as required and will provide a backup solution should any issues arise with ICPbio’s own facility.
CANAM Construction has been retained to complete the construction elements associated with the new freeze drier installation, including two additional process areas. This will see the factory floor area at 37 Waipareira Avenue fully built out and totally dedicated to the fractionation of bovine plasma and the finishing of the plasma protein products.
The PWC-led disposal of the Veterinary Products is progressing well with strong interest by a number international animal health companies from Europe and North America. Unfortunately with the holiday season the timetable has now slipped about 4 – 6 weeks. Information packs are being distributed by PWC to qualified parties mid January and indicative bids will be due in by the early February. Due Diligence is currently planned to commence late February for selected parties, with final bids expected mid March and execution of the sale and purchase agreement with the successful party expected to be concluded in April.
This week ICPbio has also restructured responsibilities for operations to ensure that manufacturing is fully focussed on delivering the volumes and quality of products required to meet its F2007 financial projections.
Peter Hosking who joined the company in October as Manufacturing Compliance Manager, has taken over as Operations Manager, with full responsibility for Sterile & Bulk Manufacturing (Veterinary, Serums, Plasma Proteins), Quality Control, Logistics & Supply, and Engineering. Peter was formerly Operations Manager for Nufarm at their Health & Sciences and AgChem facilities in South Auckland for nearly 10 years. Prior to that he held a number of manufacturing roles with Pfizer in the USA and Europe. Dr Andy Herbert moves from GM Operations to full-time project manager for the final stages of the new plasma fractionation facility which is expected to be completed during February. Following this Andy is returning to his international consulting business but will remain available for future plant expansions and new projects.
Ben Perrin, Head of Sales and Marketing, will leave ICPbio mid January to move to Sydney to enable him and his wife and three young children to be closer to most of their family who also live in Sydney. He will take up a new role with one of ICPbio’s major biologicals customers, Sigma Aldrich and will continue to work with the Company as it increases its supply of products to Sigma. This will have a much reduced international travel component compared to ICPbio. A Melbourne based search firm has been retained to locate a suitably qualified replacement with the requisite international business development and sales & marketing leadership. In the interim, Dr Stevens will assume acting Head of Sales & Marketing in addition to his Managing Director responsibilities.
The company plans to shortly appoint a senior person to the newly created role of Customer Service Manager to drive the commercial coordination between Sales & Marketing and Manufacturing.
In order to free up some of Dr Stevens time to drive the international sales development in 2007 senior Business Development and Corporate Affairs positions are also under discussion with likely internationally experienced candidates. Appointments are likely to be announced in the New Year.
About ICPbio: 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 NZ farming sector output. ICPbio manufactures the media, serums and biochemicals pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies use to make, test, store, and deliver their products.