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Chinese market beckons local firm

Miraculins Inc. working on deal

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A Winnipeg company that makes non-invasive medical diagnostic equipment is meeting with one of the largest distributors in China that wants to commercialize the company's non-invasive diabetes screening test.

Miraculins Inc. has signed a letter of intent with the Chinese company. And although it is at a very early stage of the development -- part of the agreement is the Chinese company would also fund the regulatory approval process for the device in China -- company CEO Chris Moreau said it is an exciting opportunity for the company.

"It's a massive potential for us. We've only owned the technology for 60 days and we are quite pleased with the speed in which we have been able to get this done," Moreau said. "In the Chinese market, point-of-care testing is hot right now. China is a major market and diabetes is a growing problem in China."

'China is a major market and diabetes is a growing problem in China'

Miraculins' non-invasive diabetes screening device, called Scout DS, is designed to provide a screening for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes based on the presence of diabetes-related biomarkers found in skin. The test requires no drawing of blood, no fasting, and no waiting for a lab result.

Earlier this year Miraculins acquired the Scout DS technology from a U.S. company that was in financial difficulty. The device had already achieved regulatory approval in Canada and Europe.

Canadian distribution company, Pear Healthcare -- which also markets Miraculins' non-invasive skin cholesterol test, called Pre-Vu, to pharmacies in Canada -- is expected to announce a pilot project for Scout DS at more than a couple of dozen pharmacies in Canada before the end of the year.

Moreau said about 20 per cent of people with Type-2 diabetes don't know they have it.

The latest statistics from the American Diabetes Association say there are 79 million Americans with prediabetes.

A recent study in China indicates 114 million people have diabetes and it projects 40 per cent of 18-to-20-year-olds and 47 per cent of 30-to-39-year-olds in China are prediabetic.

Moreau is heading to China later this month to meet with officials from Cachet Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. to discuss details of a potential partnership.

Cachet is publicly traded on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange but is majority state-owned and has a market capitalization of $654 million. It distributes a wide range of both pharmaceuticals and equipment, from traditional Chinese medicines to representing multinational pharmaceutical companies.

Moreau said Miraculins has had many enquiries from potential Chinese partners over the years but Cachet represents his "wish list" of features a Chinese partner should have. Among those is the fact it is publicly traded and must regularly report its performance, which Moreau believes will reduce the risk for a small company like Miraculins, and Cachet is a large enough company to have the resources to manage such a large market.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 1, 2013 B6

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