VANCOUVER, British Columbia--Oct. 22, 2003--Forbes Medi-Tech Inc. (TSX:FMI) (Nasdaq:FMTI) announced today that the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) has appointed Dr. Kishor Wasan as Research Chair for 5 years for the CIHR/Rx&D Research Program with the Industrial Sponsor being Forbes Medi-Tech Inc. CIHR's scientific review committee has awarded the chair position to Dr. Wasan based on his scientific record and studies completed for Forbes. Additionally, Forbes has signed a series of agreements with Cavendish Analytical Laboratory Limited (Cavendish) of Vancouver, BC to conduct further research activities for Forbes complimentary to the CIHR program.
Dr. Wasan, Director of CIHR-Forbes Medi-Tech Inc. Research Group at the University of British Columbia, has been collaborating with Forbes on a number of successful academic research contracts over the past few years. Numerous scientific papers have been published from these collaborations and three patent applications have been submitted. To date, Dr. Wasan's laboratory has established a model for measuring the uptake of cholesterol from the gut of fasted rats, when given in combination with radiolabel and unlabeled cholesterol, that might be used to rapidly screen new products and formulations. The current three-year joint research project, which began in the summer of 2001, is estimated to cost approximately $1 million, of which, an estimated $0.28 million is being funded by a grant from CIHR.
"We are optimistic that the scope of the work on novel sterol and steroid analogues will generate significant scientific knowledge that has clear commercial potential," said Charles Butt, President and CEO of Forbes Medi-Tech Inc. "Dr. Wasan will be a tremendous asset as Research Chairman of the CIHR program with a focus on FM-VP4 and related compounds."
The funding of this project will allow Dr. Wasan to allocate more time to research the potential mechanisms responsible for the lipid lowering and anti-obesity effect of phytostanols and/or steroid analogues. Clarification of these mechanisms will provide the core data required for Forbes to survey novel chemical entities and to formulate unique mixtures of phytosterol analogues into agents designed to have marketable anti-obesity and lipid lowering properties.
To augment the CIHR program activity, Forbes and Cavendish have signed a comprehensive development agreement for the further research and development of Forbes' pharmaceutical pipeline, including Forbes' lead compound, FM-VP4. Cavendish plans to conduct analytic and synthetic chemistry research that can be utilized by the CIHR research program. Additionally, Cavendish has agreed to lease portions of Forbes' laboratory equipment and sublease Forbes' lab facilities at the University of British Columbia.
"This comprehensive series of agreements with Cavendish represents both a financial benefit and new development partner for Forbes," said Mr. Butt. "The reduction in fixed overhead associated with the operation of our research facility while maintaining direct control over our research initiatives is an essential step in the Company's growth."
About Cavendish Analytical Laboratory Limited
Cavendish Analytical Laboratory Limited specializes in automated analytical chemistry analysis. The company was founded in 1988 by Mr. Wade Lee Reeves and is registered in British Columbia, Canada. Mr. Reeves is the current president and director of operations. An assembled group of professionals from varying disciplines share common visions of scientific corporate business.
About Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)
CIHR is Canada's major federal funding agency for health research. Its objective is to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened Canadian health care system. CIHR University-Industry Programs are designed to help academic researchers interact with Canadian companies with an interest in health research and development. The program promotes a wide variety of peer reviewed research projects jointly funded by Canadian companies and CIHR.
About Forbes Medi-Tech Inc.
Forbes Medi-Tech Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative prescription pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and related diseases. Forbes' scientific platform is based on core sterol technology. By extracting plant sterols from by-products of the forestry industry, Forbes has developed cholesterol-lowering agents for use in pharmaceutical compounds, functional foods and dietary supplements.
NASDAQ and the Toronto Stock Exchange have not reviewed and do not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of the content of this News Release. This News Release contains forward-looking statements about the Company's research programs and potential future products, which statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "will," "potential," "optimistic," "to formulate," "designed to" or any other variations thereon or comparable terminology referring to future dates, events or results. Forward-looking statements are statements about the future and are inherently uncertain, and the Company's actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in those forward-looking statements as a result of numerous factors, including without limitation; research & development risks; the risk of technical obsolescence; the need for regulatory approval, which may not be obtained in a timely matter or at all; the need for clinical trials, the occurrence and success of which cannot be assured; intellectual property risks; marketing/manufacturing and partnership/strategic alliance risks; the effect of competition; uncertainty of the size and existence of a market opportunity for the Company's products; risks inherent in the development of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical research and the development of new products; the need for performance by Cavendish of its contract obligations; the Company's need for additional future capital, which may not be available in a timely manner or at all; exchange rate fluctuations; product liability risks; as well as a description of other risks and uncertainties affecting the Company and its business, as contained in news releases and filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and Canadian Securities Regulatory Authorities, any of which could cause actual results to vary materially from current results or the Company's anticipated future results. Forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs, opinions and expectations of the Company's management at the time they are made, and the Company does not assume any obligation to update its forward-looking statement if those beliefs, opinions or expectations, or other circumstances should change.