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Bio-OriGyn CEO Receives International Award in Male Reproductive Science.

Health/Medical Writers


SPOKANE, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 31, 2003

Jaguar Ventures, Inc., announced today that Dr. Joanna Ellington, CEO of Bio-OriGyn, a Spokane-based biomedical company, has won an international award for her scientific contributions in the field of male reproduction and infertility. Ellington's innovative study on sperm physiology led to the launch of the first commercial product to protect sperm function in treating infertility - Pre-Seed, a "sperm friendly" intimate moisturizer.

Ellington was presented the 2003 Young Andrologist Award by the American Society of Andrology at their annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Recipients of this award are in the formative phase of her or his career (under age 45), nominated by their peers and selected by the society's executive council. Past winners have included individuals from all around the world.

"Dr. Ellington developed the area of sperm-oviduct interaction, put it on a sound scientific footing, and moved into patented products with commercial potential," stated Donna Vogel M.D., Ph.D. and National Institutes of Health (NIH) project officer.

In order to design safer treatment interventions for infertile couples, Ellington co-founded ING Fertility, (a subsidiary of Bio-OriGyn,) aimed at designing a new generation of products for treating infertility by protecting sperm function. ING launched its first product, Pre-Seed, in December 2002. The product has become widely popular in infertility message boards for its ability to replenish natural moisture and provide an optimal sperm environment to the 11 million US couples that are trying to conceive. Other personal lubricants can damage sperm or create interfering barriers to sperm passage.

Jaguar Ventures is the equity investment affiliate of Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Co., Inc., and Bio-OriGyn's major investment partner. C. Paul Sandifur Jr., President and CEO of Metropolitan and a member of Bio-OriGyn's Board cites his pride in having Ellington, an internationally recognized male reproduction expert, based in Spokane. "Dr. Ellington understands what infertile couples go through in their quest to conceive. She has shown tremendous dedication to their cause in bringing Pre-Seed as a breakthrough product to these couples."

The Young Andrologist Award recognizes Ellington as an internationally known scientist in the area of sperm physiology with over 75 publications in the field, and cites her successful grantsmanship. Ellington has received almost continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1990 and has previously been recognized with the NIH Physician Scientist Award and the FIRST Award, as well as receiving funds from USDA and other federal sources. She has presented scientific presentations to reproductive societies throughout the world.

Ellington received her Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1990, studying under Dr. Robert Foote in reproductive physiology. Ellington is one of a handful of scientists globally who study sperm storage in the Fallopian tube prior to fertilization.

This work led her to research the damage done to sperm during current methods of assisted reproduction, and the potential public health risks this may pose. Her findings showed increased rates of sperm DNA damage resulting from assisted reproduction; such damage can result in miscarriage, childhood cancers, and birth defects. Ellington contends that safer, more efficient methods of treating infertility need to be designed that look to protect sperm DNA.

Bio-OriGyn LLC is an early-stage company that develops medical products to optimize cellular health and function using bioactive polysaccharides (sugars). Initial markets for the product include human fertility, blood storage, cryopreservation (freezing) of livestock sperm and embryos, stem cell processing systems and serum-free culture media for biopharmaceutical production.

Jaguar Ventures, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Summit Group of Companies, which is solely owned by C. Paul Sandifur, Jr. The Jaguar Ventures team provides assistance to the Metropolitan Financial Group of affiliated companies in the form of due diligence, management, reporting and sourcing of deal flow for equity investments. The Metropolitan Financial Group of Companies consists of Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Co., Inc., Western United Holding Company, Western United Life Assurance Company, Summit Securities, Inc., Metropolitan Investment Securities, Inc., Old Standard Life Insurance Company, Old West Annuity & Life Insurance Company, Summit Property Development, Inc. and Jaguar Ventures, Inc. Together, they employ approximately 420. directs to
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 31, 2003
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