Biostar Inc., a Canadian biotechnology company, has raised $8.2million (C$10.9 million) in its first round of equity financing.

The company, which currently markets three cattle vaccines,will use the funds to establish a development andmanufacturing facility and to finance further development ofits animal and human health products.

Biostar of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, said it sold 5.45 millionshares at $1.50 each. It has 7.8 million shares outstanding. Theplacement is a staged investment based on technicalmilestones; the initial funding is $2.8 million.

Biostar was established in 1983 by the University ofSaskatchewan's Veterinary Infectious Disease Organization(VIDO) to transfer technology developed at the university toindustry. In 1990, the company became a manufacturing andmarketing entity. It markets three cattle vaccines developedby VIDO, two of which contain genetically engineered subunits.

Biostar's president and chief executive officer, Steve Acres, toldBioWorld that the company has a series of geneticallyengineered vaccines in development, primarily for respiratoryand enteric diseases in cattle. The company expects to field-testtwo vaccines in the next year, a respiratory vaccine for pigsand a vaccine for bovine herpes virus. In addition, it has acontraceptive vaccine for dogs and cats in development.

Biostar also has a human vaccine delivery technology inpreclinicals. Acres explained that the technology consists of aviral protein that when purified will assemble into a sphere. Hesaid vaccine antigens can be attached to the sphere, whichincreases the immune response to the antigens. TrademarkedVacci-Mate, the technology can also be used for drug delivery.Acres said drugs can be put in the sphere for delivery tomacrophages and potentially other cell types.

The company has a 1992 strategic alliance with SmithKlineBeecham Animal for joint development and internationalmarketing of products to treat respiratory and reproductivediseases of livestock. It also licensed its rotavirus technologyfor vaccine development to Lederle Praxis Laboratories.

The lead investor in Biostar is MDS Health Ventures Inc., whichtogether with The Health Care and Biotechnology Venture Fundinvested an aggregate of $1.5 million.

MDS announced Friday that the two companies have alsosubscribed to purchase $1.6 million in common shares of DrugRoyalty Corp. Inc. of Toronto. Drug Royalty has filed for anequity common share offering for $11.3 million at $1.05 pershare. The company acquires interests in royalties, licenses,development fees or other entitlements in emerging andexisting pharmaceutical products and technologies.

In October, Drug Royalty paid $950,000 to Biokine TechnologyLtd., a private company in the United Kingdom, to fund a trialof its immunostimulant GMDP (see BioWorld, Oct. 29).

-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.