Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kentucky BioProcessing gets contract

Aethlon Medical Inc. of San Diego will use Owensboro-based Kentucky BioProcessing LLC to manufacture the active ingredient to be used in its Hemopurifier, a device used to absorb viruses and immunosuppressive particles from blood.

"The relationship with Kentucky BioProcessing represents an important step toward establishing the longterm commercial feasibility of our Hemopurifier," Aethlon Medical CEO Jim Joyce said in a news release.

KBP will produce the proteins, to be used in the device, inside tobaccolike plants for significantly less money than producing them in a laboratory, he said.

"The relationship offers large yield production potential in time frames that could improve our response capability against viral outbreaks, including unforeseen bioterror and pandemic threats," Joyce said.

The news release referred to "large-scale production." But Barry Bratcher, KBP's chief operating officer, said production will be measured in grams and kilos, not ounces and pounds -- at least for now.

The contract will create no new jobs at KBP immediately, he said. "At this point, we're still demonstrating the product," Bratcher said.

The Hemopurifier still faces several years of clinical trials before it can go into commercial production.

The company's Web page says the Hemopurifier method "is based on kidney dialysis. In essence, the system filters out ... viruses in much the same way a water filtration system removes lead and other impurities from drinking water."

Aethlon Medical says its technology is "positioned to treat global pandemic issues such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, H5N1 avian flu and pathogens most likely to be weaponized for use in bioterrorism."

It also mentions that the filter will work with the ebola virus, dengue fever, West Nile, monkeypox and ovarian cancer.

The Web site says "the Hemopurifier is the first-in-class medical device to selectively adsorb viruses from the bloodstream."

Joyce, who founded the company in 1998, has testified before Congress about using the Hemopurifier as a countermeasure against biological weapons, his Web site says.

The company says it has conducted Hemopurifier tests on both animals and humans.
"In human studies, conducted in India, we have demonstrated initial safety of the Hemopurifier and the ability to reduce viral load in both HIV- and HCV- (hepatitis C) infected individuals," it says.

By Keith Lawrence, Messenger-Inquirer
Published: Thursday, September 24, 2009 1:12 AM CDT