Warrants bolster Burcon for on-going development

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Burcon NutraScience has said it has enough cash in its coffers to
fund operations and working capital requirements through October
2009, thanks in part to raising C$630,131 through the exercise of
share purchase warrants.

The warrants, issued in August 2006 along with a rights offering of Burcon's shares, would have expired today. ​Together with the $5.6m in cash the company had as at December 31, the warrants exercise puts the company in a strong position to continue on the path towards commercialization of its canola proteins – Supertein and Puratein – including fulfilling regulatory requirements. "We are now in an even better position to continue through the next stages of our development plan and the commercialization of Puratein and Supertein,"​ said president and COO Johann Tergesen. Last year Burcon and its partner Archer Daniel Midland entered into several material transfer agreements with food and beverage companies, and one with a pharmaceutical company, for testing of the proteins in various matrices. ​Although they do not cover toxicology, the company says that the material transfer agreements are helping to establish probable commercial uses of the proteins, and therefore form part of the regulatory recognition process. Over the last nine months Burcon has focused on scaling up production of both proteins, so as to be able to supply adequate amounts of the material to ADM's customers for testing. ​Puratein and Supertein are poised to compete with animal-based proteins, because they have similar characteristics to egg yolks and egg-whites yet are plant-based. Burcon says the protein ingredients have economic value because of this potential to replace egg, dairy and other proteins in a number of broad applications such as emulsifying, gelling, and binding. Additionally, according to the company, Supertein's solubility profile suggests potential for its use in beverages - particularly low pH beverages - where traditional protein ingredients experience challenges. The high protein efficiency ratio for canola is more than double that of soy, according to Burcon. This ratio measures a growing animal's total weight gain versus the weight of protein consumed during the same period. Despite its strengths, Canola protein is still only at the stage where it can dream of achieving a similar market position to the main plant-based protein, soy. The US soy protein industry was worth $2.5 billion in 2006, according to market analyst Soyatech. Canola is the second-largest oilseed crop in the world after soybeans. The oilseed not only has a high level of protein purity, without prohibitive fat levels, but it also has an amino acid content comparable to animal proteins and superior to that of soy proteins.

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