Vancouver, British Columbia - October 23, 2002 Forbes Medi-Tech Inc. (TSE:FMI and NASDAQ:FMTI) today announced several changes in the Company's operations and management structure.
"In today's financial environment, it is important for us to retain cash and optimize our human resources while remaining focused on our key objectives in both our sterol commercialization initiatives and pharmaceutical development program" said Charles Butt, President and CEO.
Under the re-structuring, Forbes has moved all of its research programs out of its laboratory facility and will now outsource its research to selected universities and contract research organizations. This will not impact current clinical and regulatory development of FM-VP4 and the VPx library of compounds. "This move is advantageous from both a financial and scientific perspective, as we can further reduce our burnrate while enhancing our relationship with some of the key academic centers in both North America and internationally" said Butt.
The re-structuring has enabled Forbes to reduce its total headcount (excluding the Joint Venture) from 35 to 17, with an annualized savings of Cdn$854,000.
New appointments within the senior management group are as follows:
Dr. Tanya Lukic is promoted to Vice-President, Scientific Affairs from her current position of Director, Scientific Affairs. Since joining Forbes Medi-Tech, Dr. Tanya Lukic has managed several drug discovery projects and is the project leader for the preclinical and clinical development of Forbes' novel lipid-lowering agent, FM-VP4. Her new position will be to take over the day-to-day running of the Pharmaceutical Development program. Prior to joining Forbes, Dr. Lukic was a research assistant in the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of British Columbia. She also worked as a staff physician at the Allergy and Immunology Clinic, University of Belgrade, specializing in the management of acquired immunology deficiency syndromes. Dr. Lukic holds an M.D. degree and a Masters of Science in Immunology from the University of Belgrade in Yugoslavia.
Haydn Pritchard will continue to work with the Company on a part-time consulting basis, consequent upon his return to a full-time professorship position at the University of British Columbia after a two-year leave of absence. Dr. Pritchard will continue to be involved with the Company's clinical and laboratory based pre-clinical work.
Laura Wessman is promoted to the newly created position of Vice-President, Business Development. Ms. Wessman joined Forbes Medi-Tech in December 2000 and has been involved in both the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical divisions of the Company, most recently captaining the upscaling and commercial profiling of its pharmaceutical steroidal technology. In her new role she is responsible for chartering the Company's growth through in-house development as well as licensing and acquisitions; she is also responsible for managing the Company's manufacturing activities at the Phyto-Source Joint Venture in Houston Texas. Prior to joining Forbes, Ms. Wessman held positions of increasing responsibility at North Aegean Petroleum and Cominco in the areas of process engineering and project management. Ms Wessman holds undergraduate degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry from the University of British Columbia and an MBA from Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC.
Both Dr. Lukic and Ms. Wessman will report to the President and CEO.
Patricia Pracher, Director of Financial Services is promoted to Corporate Controller. Ms. Pracher is a Certified Management Accountant with the Society of Management Accountants of British Columbia and holds a business degree from York University in Toronto, Ontario. Ms. Pracher's experience includes ten years at a controllership level in various industries including precious metals mining, agriculture, retail sales and international marketing for operations in Canada and the United States. Ms. Pracher will continue to report to the Senior Vice-President & CFO.
Other senior management positions including Senior Vice-President & CFO, VP, Regulatory Affairs, VP, Functional Foods and VP Commercial Operations remain unchanged.
One final note is that Forbes has been provided an additional 180 days or until April 14, 2003 from the NASDAQ Stock Market to regain compliance with NASDAQ'S US $1.00 minimum per share bid price requirement for continued inclusion on the SmallCap Market.
About Forbes Medi-Tech Inc.
Forbes Medi-Tech Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative pharmaceuticals and nutraceutical products for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and related diseases. By extracting plant sterols from wood pulping by-products, Forbes has developed cholesterol-lowering agents to be used as pharmaceutical therapeutics, dietary supplements and functional food ingredients.
For more information, please contact:
Darren Seed Manager, Investor Relations
Telephone: (604) 681-8976
E-mail: mailto:[email protected]
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 press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, such as, "will", "to", "can" or comparable terminology referring to future events or results. The Company's actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of numerous factors, including without limitation, the need to control costs and the possibility of unanticipated expenses, and the need for universities and contract research organizations to provide services to the Company, which may not be available on acceptable terms or at all. See the Company's reports filed with the Toronto Stock EExchange, the B.C. and Ontario Securities Commissions, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time for cautionary statements identifying other important factors with respect to such forward-looking statements, including certain risks and uncertainties, that could cause actual results to differ materially from results referred to in forward-looking statements. The Company assumes no obligation to update the information contained in this press release.