Vancouver, British Columbia, January 20, 2010 — Burcon NutraScience Corporation (TSX - BU) (“Burcon” or the “Corporation”) is pleased to announce today that it has received a notice of allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a patent application covering processes for reducing phytic acid in the production of protein isolates from oilseed meals. A notice of allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office is a written notification that a patent application has cleared internal review and is nearing issuance.
Phytic acid is a naturally occurring anti-nutritional component found in oilseed meals such as canola meal and soybean meal. There is concern that, due to the strong cation binding capacity, high levels of phytic acid in the diet may decrease the bioavailability of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron, and thus impact mineral nutrition (Anderson et al. 1976; Jones, 1979; Larsen & Samdstrom, 1992; Weaver & Kannan, 2002).
Phytates may also form complexes with proteins, interfering with their utilization (Hidvegi & Lasztity, 2002). For these reasons, Burcon conducted research into methods for reducing the level of phytate in the vegetable protein isolates produced from Burcon’s protein extraction processes. The notice of allowance now received from the United States Patent and Trademark Office covers those processes.
“This most recent notice of allowance from the United States Patent Office is valuable as it covers important processing conditions for producing protein isolates from oilseed meals with improved nutritional characteristics,” said Johann F. Tergesen, President and Chief Operating Officer, adding, “These patented processing techniques allow for Burcon’s CLARISOY™, a revolutionary soy protein isolate as well as Puratein® and Supertein™ canola protein isolates to have a superior nutritional profile which opens up opportunities for their use in a wider spectrum of nutritional products and in additional food and beverage applications.”
To-date, Burcon’s patent portfolio consists of 107 issued patents in various countries, including 12 issued U.S. patents, and in excess of 200 additional pending patent applications, 67 of which are U.S. patent applications. Five of Burcon’s 67 U.S. patent applications have now been allowed, including the patent allowance which is the subject of this news release, and will be issued as granted U.S. patents in the near future.
About Burcon NutraScience
Burcon is a leader in nutrition, health and wellness in the field of functional, renewable plant proteins. Since 1999, Burcon has developed a portfolio of composition, application, and process patents originating from our core protein extraction and purification technology. We are developing Puratein® and Supertein™ canola protein isolates with unique functional and nutritional attributes, and CLARISOY™, a revolutionary soy protein isolate which is 100% soluble and completely transparent in acidic solutions. Our team of highly specialized scientists and engineers work from our own research facility to develop and optimize environmentally sound technologies. To-date, our patent portfolio consists of 107 issued patents in various countries, including 12 issued U.S. patents, and in excess of 200 additional pending patent applications, 67 of which are U.S. patent applications.