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Blis signals more new products

Thursday 29th May 2003

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Listed biotechnology company BLIS Technologies expects to launch two new products in the current financial year and is predicting a maiden profit in 2005.

BLIS Technologies chief executive Kelvin Moffatt said a bad breath preventative (treatment for halitosis) would likely be the next product the company brings to market, following the launch of BLIS Throat Spray in April.

"There are a number of applications in the market that mainly mask the problem of bad breath. For some people bad breath is a chronic problem. We expect to launch this year a preventative product that can be taken daily and removes the root cause of bad breath by replacing the undesirable bacteria that cause oral malodour with beneficial oral bacteria. We hope to complete the trials of this product within the next four months, and have a product in the market soon after that.

"A BLIS tooth decay preventative is also currently in clinical trials in association with the University of Otago Dental School. This will involve two hundred school children with dental caries over six months and recruitment is almost complete."

BLIS announced today it has beaten its forecasted annual financial result by $200,000 for the year to 31 March 2003. BLIS recorded a $2.3 million loss and while it will report a loss in 2004, it expected to be in profit and cash flow positive in the 2005 financial year.

''Next year's forecast loss is due to the continued aggressive development and rollout of BLIS products in New Zealand and internationally. We are then expecting to report a modest profit in 2005," company chairman Trevor Scott said.

Mr Moffatt said the better than forecast result in the year to 31 March 2003 was achieved by keeping a tight rein on costs despite new product launches and an extensive research and development programme.

"It is a pleasing performance (financially) as forecasting costs and revenues is challenging especially when you are a new company focused on bringing innovative health products to the market while at the same time investing substantially in research and development."

BLIS is well positioned and retains sufficient cash reserves to maintain its research and development programme over the next two years. In the past year it has bolstered its research team to 10 and has leased a second laboratory within the Centre for Innovation at Otago University.

"Additionally, we continue to work closely with departments of the University, in particular Professor John Tagg's laboratory and the Dental School."

BLIS Technologies have achieved a number of milestones in the past year including the successful launch of its first product BLIS K12 Throat Guard into the New Zealand marketplace, as well as the more recent launches of BLIS Bio Restore, which replenishes good bacteria in the stomach and mouth, and BLIS Throat Spray, giving the company a solid family of innovative products.

The company also signed a licensing agreement with Australian company Astra Grace last year to begin selling K12 Throat Guard in Korea as soon as registration is achieved. Registration of K12 is steadily progressing in the influential German market. The strain, Streptococcus salivarius K12, which is contained in BLIS K12 Throat Guard, has recently been classified by the German Committee for Biological Working Materials in the lowest bacterial risk group. This means its is classified alongside organisms used in foods such as cheese and yoghurt and is a significant step in the ongoing registration process.

Mr Moffatt said offshore registration is likely to be achieved first in Germany, then Australia and some Asian markets. In addition registration activity was continuing in the US, UK and Japan with a modified product format which was currently being tested.

"This initial registration of Streptococcus salivarius K12 will also pave the way for a rollout of a range of products that are based on similar strains."

To date there has been considerable interest in the tooth decay preventative. Clinical trials are being conducted in Dunedin and three different strains of BLIS-producing Streptococcus salivarius, each with their own slightly different properties, are being used to establish the most effective way to prevent tooth decay.

BLIS has research and development underway on upper respiratory health, the prevention of ear and sinus infections, acne and skin conditions as well as urinary tract infections and bovine mastitis.

The Company has submitted an ethics application for a pilot trial that will begin this year, using Streptococcus salivarius strains to help prevent recurring ear and sinus infections.

Mr Moffatt said recent third party research showed that when chronic ear infections reoccur after antibiotic use it is mainly due to infection by new opportunistic organisms.

"Childrens' health researchers are very interested in a naturally occurring beneficial bacteria that inhibits the growth of undesirable organisms and which may help prevent subsequent ear infections."

Mr. Scott said that the company performance in bringing products to market quickly was very encouraging.

"We remain very confident about the future of BLIS Technologies and the potential of its products to improve the health of people and communities. While sore throats, ear infections, and sinus infections are often perceived as less serious conditions, they still remain among the top 10 reasons people visit doctors in New Zealand as well as Europe and the United States. As well as the significant commercial opportunities, the potential community healthcare savings from reducing the incidence of these common ailments and dental caries are enormous."

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