TORONTO, July 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Bontan Corporation Inc. ('the Company")
(OTCBB: BNTNF) ("Bontan") is pleased to announce that its application
to move its jurisdiction to the British Virgin Islands ("BVI") from
Ontario has been approved. The Company will continue as a BVI
corporation under the new name Portage Biotech Inc ("Portage").
The Company continues to have reporting obligations under the Ontario
Securities Act and under the US Securities and Exchange Act as a
foreign reporting issuer. Its securities will continue to trade on the
Over the Counter Bulletin Board of NASDAQ under the existing symbol:
BNTNF. The Company is in the process of applying for a new CUSIP number
and filing the necessary documents with FINRA (Financial Industry
Regulatory Authority) to register its new name, new industry code and
new trading symbol to reflect its new business direction.
As previously announced, on June 4, 2013, the board of directors of
Portage is comprised of Dr. Declan Doogan, Dr. Gregory Bailey, Mr.
James Mellon and Mr. Kam Shah. Dr. Doogan is the new Chief Executive
Officer, Mr. Shah is the Chief Financial Officer and Dr. Bailey is the
Chairman of the Board.
Portage has an operating subsidiary - Portage Pharma Ltd. ("PPL"). PPL
holds an exclusive licence in non-oncology fields under patents granted
in the USA, Australia, Israel and New Zealand and patents applied for
in Japan and Canada. PPL has an exclusive worldwide licence in
non-oncology fields and the know-how relating to the Antennapedia
protein transduction technology developed by Trojantec. Antennapedia
("Antp") is an unusual protein that allows for the delivery of drugs
right into a cell and even into the nucleus which is often the desired
site of action. This protein coupled with a drug may even cross the
blood brain barrier.
Many diseases are due to flawed or deficient gene function or missing
enzymes. Genes may be regulated through the direct delivery of
biologically active molecules using Antp-based products. These products
could restore or normalize gene function or replace missing or
defective protein products. Other diseases have treatment but the drug
cannot get into the nucleus or into the cell where they are needed and
Antp could be a transformative delivery system.
PPL is developing a research pipeline of Antp-based drug candidates and
is evaluating their function and potential as new therapeutic agents
for a variety of non-oncology indications.
PPL currently has nine biotech professionals acting as consultants. They
are led by Dr. Bruce Littman as Chief Executive Officer and President,
and Dr. Frank Marcoux as Chief Scientific Officer. They report to the
Board of Directors of PPL which is headed by Dr. Declan Doogan. Drs.
Littman, Marcoux and Doogan have over 60 years of combined experience
in the financing and development of new drugs and have been associated
with major pharmaceutical companies in executive positions. PPL plans
on streamlining its drug development process through contract research
organizations. This strategy offers the benefit of fast delivery, a
higher level of efficiency and lowered costs associated with drug
The following are the backgrounds of the new management and Board
Gregory Bailey M.D. is a co-founder of Ascent Healthcare Solutions, the number one
re-processor of used surgical equipment; VirnetX Inc., an internet
security company (VHC: AMEX); and Duramedic Inc., a medical products
company. He is a former financier and director of Medivation Inc.
(MDVN: NASDAQ) from 2005 to 2012.
Declan Doogan M.D. was the previous CEO and Head of R&D at Amarin Inc. (AMRN:NASDAQ) and
the former Head of Worldwide Drug Development at Pfizer Inc. He has
held Visiting Professorships at Harvard School of Public Health,
Glasgow University Medical School and Kitasato University (Tokyo). He
sits on the boards of Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute UK, Sosei
(Japan Biotech), Trojantec (UK, oncology) and Spinifex (Melbourne). He
continues to provide medical advice to Amarin Inc.
Jim Mellon: Jim holds directorships in a number of publicly quoted companies, many
of which are in the biopharma sector including Miraculins, Plethora
Solutions, and the Summit Corporation. He is also chairman of AIM
listed Port Erin Biopharma Investments, a fund specialising in
biopharma investments and is the author of the best-selling book
"Cracking the Code" which charts the developments within the biotech
industry. Jim's other listed company directorships include chairman of
Manx Financial Group and Speymill, co-chairman of both Regent Pacific
Group and West African Mining Corporation, and a board member of
Brazilian Gold Corporation, Charlemagne Capital and Condor Resources.
Bruce H. Littman, M.D., has over 30 years of research and drug development experience. He was
Vice President and Global Head of Translational Medicine in Pfizer and
also has a strong academic background in immunology, rheumatology and
inflammation. His skill set is particularly suited to developing
de-risking strategies and using an understanding of how drugs behave in
the body to evaluate early drug candidates. He has an excellent track
record in early clinical development. After retiring from Pfizer at the
end of 2007 he became an independent consultant. Prior to that, he
served for 13 years on the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth
University's Medical College of Virginia. He is an author and co-editor
of "Translational Medicine and Drug Discovery" published in 2011 by
Cambridge University Press.
Frank W. Marcoux, Ph.D. has over 25 years of pharmaceutical company and academic research
experience. He was the VP of Quantitative and Innovative Medicine in
Worldwide Development at Pfizer and former VP of Worldwide Discovery
Biology Discipline Head until 2008 when he became an independent
consultant. Previously he worked for Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical
Research for seventeen years. Dr. Marcoux's consulting focus is on high
confidence translation of drug discovery programs to early clinical
proof of concept and is aimed at biotech, Pharma and academic medical
centres. Dr. Marcoux holds a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics and
held research positions prior to industry at Harvard Medical
School/Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Alabama,
Birmingham, Medical Center, and at the University of Vermont, College
Dr. Bailey, the Chairman commented, "We believe that the name change and
continuation of Bontan to BVI creates a tax efficient model and
increases the opportunity for value appreciation for shareholders. It
also allows us to create subsidiaries like PPL that will be of interest
to large pharmaceutical companies with significant cash outside of
Dr. Doogan, CEO commented, "We now have a structure and a team. The
continuance into BVI is expected to open up more opportunities. This
will enable us to develop multiple products that will all be assessed
by partners on their individual merits as opposed to focussing on a
single lead product."
Portage is engaged through its subsidiary in researching and developing
pharmaceutical and biotech products through to clinical "proof of
concept" with an initial focus on unmet clinical needs and orphan
drugs. Following proof of concept, Portage will look to sell or license
the products to large pharmaceutical companies to gain global
Portage management is looking to in license additional biotech products.
For further information, contact Greg Bailey, the Chairman at email@example.com or Kam Shah, Chief Financial Officer, at (416) 929-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning
of the U.S. federal and Canadian securities laws. Any such statements
reflect Portage's current views and assumptions about future events and
financial performance. Portage cannot assure that future events or
performance will occur. Important risks and factors that could cause
actual results or events to differ materially from those indicated in
our forward-looking statements.
Portage assumes no obligation and expressly disclaims any duty to update
the information in this News Release.
SOURCE Bontan Corporation Inc.