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News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Annapolis, MD; May 3, 2017--As the managed honey bee industry continues to grapple with significant annual colony losses, the Varroa destructor mite is emerging as the leading culprit. And, it turns out, the very nature of modern beekeeping may be giving the parasite the exact conditions it needs to spread nearly beyond control. In an article to be published next week in the Entomological Society of America's Environmental Entomology, researchers argue that the Varroa mite has "co-opted" several honey bee behaviors to its own benefit, allowing it to disperse widely even though the mite itself is not a highly mobile insect. The mite's ability to hitchhike on wandering bees, the infections it transmits to bees, and the density of colonies in managed beekeeping settings make for a deadly combination. "Beekeepers need to rethink Varroa control and treat Varroa as a migratory pest," says Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, Ph.D., research leader and location coordinator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service's Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Arizona, and lead author of the research. In the wild, bee colonies tend to survive despite Varroa infestations, and colonies are usually located far enough apart to prevent mites from hitching rides to other colonies on foraging bees. Wild bee colonies' natural habit of periodically swarming--when the colony grows large enough that a portion of its bees splinter off to create a new colony elsewhere--also serves as a mechanism for thinning out the density of mite infestations and their associated pathogens. In managed honey bee settings, though, these dynamics are disrupted, DeGrandi-Hoffman says. Colonies are kept in close proximity, and swarming is prevented. DeGrandi-Hoffman, USDA-ARS colleague Henry Graham, and Fabiana Ahumada of AgScience Consulting, conducted an 11-month study of 120 honey bee colonies in one commercial bee operation, comparing those treated with mite-targeting insecticide (miticide) in the spring and fall with those treated only in the fall, and they found no significant difference in the results: more than half of the colonies were lost across the board. This aligns with what has been seen by beekeepers and researchers alike in recent years: Varroa populations continue to grow even after being treated with effective miticides. But why? The answer may be in its dispersal mechanisms. The researchers also conducted mathematical simulations of Varroa mite population dynamics to examine the effects of both migration of foragers between colonies and swarming. When bees can wander into other colonies--either to "rob" them of their honey or because they've simply lost their way--Varroa populations across colonies climb. Likewise, prohibiting colonies from splintering periodically via swarming also leads mite populations to rise. In the wild, DeGrandi-Hoffman and her colleagues note, driving a colony to collapse is against Varroa mites' own interest; if the colony dies, the mites die with it. But in commercial beekeeping settings, increasing infestation of a colony activates the dispersal mechanisms the mites need to spread. Weakened foragers are more likely to wander to other colonies, and weakened colonies are more likely to see foragers from healthy colonies visit to rob them of honey. In both cases, mites can hitch a ride from one colony to another. It all adds up to a critical point for managed honey bee industry. The researchers cite the need for new integrated pest management strategies to treat Varroa destructor as a migratory pest, as well as for further research into the specifics of Varroa dispersal. "Colony losses in the U.S. are at unsustainable levels for commercial beekeepers. These beekeepers supply colonies for the pollination of crops that represent one-third of U.S. agriculture and are essential components of heart healthy and cancer-prevention diets," says DeGrandi-Hoffman. "This research provides evidence that the tried and true ways of controlling Varroa are no longer feasible, and that new methods that are designed for control of a migratory pest are required." "Are Dispersal Mechanisms Changing the Host-Parasite Relationship and Increasing the Virulence of Varroa destructor (Mesostigmata: Varroidae) in Managed Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Colonies?" by Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, Fabiana Ahumada, and Henry Graham, will be published online on May 9 in Environmental Entomology. Journalists may request advance copies of the article via the contact below. ABOUT: ESA is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has over 6,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, the Society stands ready as a non-partisan scientific and educational resource for all insect-related topics. For more information, visit http://www. . Environmental Entomology publishes reports on the interaction of insects with the biological, chemical, and physical aspects of their environment. For more information, visit https:/ , or visit https:/ to view the full portfolio of ESA journals and publications


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: phys.org

ARS chemist Reuven Rasooly and bioscience technician Paula Do study foodborne toxins. Rasooly developed a test to detect staphylococcal enterotoxins in foods. Credit: Stephen Ausmus One of the most common causes of food poisoning is the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, which produces a wide range of toxins. One of these, staphylococcal enterotoxin type E (SEE), has been associated with outbreaks in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year, 1 in 6 Americans—48 million people—get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. About 240,000 illnesses, 1,000 hospitalizations, and 6 deaths are caused by staphylococcal food poisoning. At the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California, chemist Reuven Rasooly and his colleagues have developed a less expensive, faster, and more sensitive test to specifically detect SEE in foods. The test uses immune cells called "T-cells." The current method for detecting these toxins is an animal model. It is expensive, has low sensitivity, and is difficult to reproduce. Other tests are available, but they can't distinguish between active toxin, which poses a threat to public health, and inactive toxin, which does not do so. "To detect active toxin," says Rasooly, "we used a T-cell line genetically engineered to produce light when exposed to staphylococcal toxin. The light intensity corresponds to the toxin concentration." If the cells are exposed to very low amounts of toxin, they give off very low light intensity. If they are exposed to higher amounts of toxin, light emission and intensity is greater, he explains. The animal-model test detects active toxin just 50 percent of the time, whereas the new T-cell test detects active toxin 100 percent of the time. "Our test is much more sensitive than the current 'gold standard' animal model or other tests," Rasooly says. In addition, the T-cell test detects toxin within 5 hours, whereas other tests take between 48 and 72 hours. "This is the most sensitive assay to date for detecting SEE," Rasooly says. "The test can be used by food makers who want to make their products safer before marketing them and by public health officials to trace the source of foodborne outbreaks."


TINTON FALLS, N.J., May 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- A.J. Perri, a New Jersey-based provider of air conditioning, heating, plumbing and indoor air quality services, announces its plans to help every home owner improve their quality of health this Spring- also known as "Allergy Season." A.J. Perri has put together information that every home owner should know in order to make their home and health comfortable during allergy season. There are numerous tips and informative materials that A.J. Perri has on-hand and available for you to inform your publics. A.J. Perri is the local expert on how to maximize your home's comfort during seasonal allergy season. A.J. Perri and its parent company ARS/Rescue Rooter, the largest provider of heating, air conditioning and plumbing services, is committed to customer service, and both ensure our customers that their homes are well-protected against allergens, that their systems are properly maintained, and that they are current on what the company can provide for additional home health and comfort. A.J. Perri employees are trained and have expert knowledge on how to safeguard your home for health. In some cases, the customer's home comfort is health-critical.


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

American Recovery Service (ARS) and Digital Recognition Network (DRN), announce the partnership between the companies has resulted in nearly 250,000 in auto recoveries, returning billions in asset value for auto finance customers over the last eight years. These recoveries, many of which would not have been found through traditional means, contributed to a 7-10 percent lift over traditional recovery methods when combined with ARS’ 24/7 dispatch center and investigative resources. The partnership began in 2009 when DRN and ARS joined forces on the recovery solution for a dispatch center pilot program. “It quickly became apparent that together, we would deliver tremendous value to our auto finance customers, as well as the affiliate agents recovering the vehicles. We attribute much of our LPR growth from a small dispatch operation to a major state-of-the-art center that impacts tens of millions of dollars in asset value, to our synergies with DRN and the value of the vehicle location data they provide,” said Dave Copeland, Chief Operating Officer at ARS. Mr. Copeland continued, “Operating 24/7/365 and performing at the highest standards to produce quality results, ARS leads the industry in innovation and commitment to excellence.” This program has resulted in considerable efficiency gains for auto lenders utilizing the technology with a highly compliance-oriented mindset. “ARS has grown to control a substantial amount of the live pick-up market share fueled by our data, the same data that revolutionized the recovery industry and has returned over $5 billion in asset value back to lenders. Working together with the award-winning team at ARS, we look forward to many more years of partnership, innovation and value creation for our customers,” said Jeremiah Wheeler, Vice President of Financial Services at DRN. About ARS ARS is a leader in the national repossession industry through technology and compliance oriented business processes which deliver top-tier results for the nation’s leading auto lenders including the largest banks, captive finance companies, portfolio managers, and credit unions. To find out more visit us online at http://www.americanrecoveryservice.com. About DRN DRN is a leading provider of data and analytics to the Financial Services, Insurance and Asset Recovery industries. Our solutions enable our clients to more effectively optimize their portfolios, reduce losses, detect fraud, and manage risk. An industry pioneer in vehicle location data and license plate recognition technology and services, DRN covers every major metropolitan area in the United States and maintains the largest vehicle location database under strict standards of privacy, compliance, and data integrity. To find out more, contact media(at)drndata(dot)com, visit us online at http://www.drndata.com, or call us at (817) 877-0077.


I serve as the CEO of Sylva International, and my firm and I are shareholders of Soligenix. I recently had the opportunity to converse with Dr. Chris Schaber, CEO of Soligenix (NASDAQ: SNGX), regarding the current status and future of Soligenix. I came away from our conversation very excited for a number of reasons, which I will get to shortly. I also asked Dr. Schaber if Dr. Straube (CMO) and Dr. Donini (CSO) would be willing to respond to some questions I had regarding their clinical pipeline. Before getting to the Q&A with Drs. Straube and Donini, I wanted to highlight a subject that came up in my conversation with Dr. Schaber. The subject was the $25M mixed prospectus/shelf that was filed on May 5 th. It seems to me that many investors perceived this prospectus as the company seeking to raise capital immediately and, as such, the share price has been under pressure. For those of you who do not know me, I have been investing in and advising public companies for nearly 20 years. I am a Registered Investment Advisor in my home state of Oregon, as is my firm, Sylva International. In this day and age, any development stage small/microcap public company should have a shelf on file with the SEC, in my opinion, as it may provide the company with considerable optionality and negotiating leverage. Let's address negotiating leverage. Assume a company wishes to acquire Soligenix as a whole, rather than acquire one of the many assets Soligenix owns and is developing. Without an effective shelf registration in place, Soligenix will likely be valued based solely on the cash on their balance sheet (approximately $9M at year end 2016), plus the negotiated value of their assets under development. However, with a $25 million shelf in place, and personally I wish it was a $250 million shelf, Soligenix now has negotiating power and considerable optionality because their stock can be used as an asset to raise capital. When negotiating with a potential acquirer, the financing alternative is leverage that can be used to either strike a better deal for shareholders, or walk away from the transaction altogether. Given Soligenix's new found liquidity, the company could raise $25M tomorrow, should it choose, which means Sologenix will be able to negotiate from a position of strength. Soligenix did not have this optionality just two months ago. To those of you worried about any dilution at the current valuation, per my recent discussion with Dr. Schaber, CEO of Soligenix, there is no plan to raise money as it is not needed. Not to sound like a broken record (remember those?), Dr. Schaber stated emphatically to me that the company has zero intention of raising any money at the current valuation and that Soligenix raised money in December 2016 and, as such, has no pressing need for cash. With that stated, Dr. Schaber also understands what the significant increase in average dollar volume means to Soligenix and that is what has me smiling, as a shareholder! Two months ago, March 9th 2017, the company could not raise $25M money, given the average daily trading volume was a meager 101,355 shares a day over the past 30 calendar days from March 9th to February 9th. The average daily volume in that 30 calendar day period multiplied by the share price on March 9th equated to $236,157 of average daily dollar volume, given the closing price on March 9, 2017 of Soligenix was $2.33. Now, let's fast forward to May 9th, 2017 and the stock closed at $2.55 and average daily trading volume over the past 30 calendar days has been 1,609,836, which equates to $4,105,082 of average daily dollar volume, a MASSIVE difference. This increase in daily dollar trading volume over the past 30 calendar days is of major value for shareholders of Soligenix - allow me to explain why. Let's go back to my hypothetical acquirer looking to buy Soligenix, before the substantial increase of Soligenix average daily dollar trading volume; the hypothetical acquirer would calculate their acquisition price by utilizing a risk adjusted net present value calculation ("NPV"), which essentially takes the estimated value of a stream of future cash flows that result from sales of developed drugs, then discounts that value to a present day figure, and adds cash and cash equivalents that are currently on the company's balance sheet. With a shelf in place, however, a prospective acquirer or partner must take into consideration that Soligenix has the ability to raise $25M, literally overnight, given the increase in average daily dollar trading volume. As a result, the NPV calculation will be adjusted considerably, because the company has viable financing options. In turn, the optionality provides Sologenix with negotiating leverage, making the company A LOT more valuable. For fun, let's assume Soligenix gains FDA approval for SGX942 in Oral Mucositis and launches SGX942 by itself. Many experts have stated that the market for Oral Mucositis is $500M, or greater, annually worldwide. SGX942 has a number of potential benefits that may help those afflicted with Oral Mucositis and, as such, Soligenix may garner a majority, if not all, of the market share for this $500M+ market. So, given that assumption, what is Soligenix worth today? The answer has to be something in excess of the meager $13.95M market cap at which the company now trades. This massive increase in average daily dollar trading volume should be met with cheers versus jeers by shareholders. The reason why it should be cheers versus jeers is because the value of partnering or purchasing Soligenix just went up substantially because of the optionality and leverage Soligenix now has given this increase in average daily dollar volume. Many of you have called or emailed me asking me why the stock price is under pressure, why the company filed a $25M shelf, and what do I think? Well, now you know why I answer the phone downright giddy as it relates to Soligenix, as it sure looks like they are shining! As I mentioned earlier in this article, I conducted a Q&A with Dr. Richard Straube, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Soligenix and Dr. Oreola Donini, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Soligenix. As promised, our Q&A is below: 1. Ross Silver: When evaluating the compounds used to manage Oral Mucositis ("OM"), what options currently exist, what do they cost annually, and how do they improve or neutralize OM, if at all? Dr. Richard Straube ("RS"): As you know, oral mucositis (OM) is an extremely debilitating side effect of many cancer treatments. Although there are ways to prevent OM, for some treatments, this may come with the risk of also protecting the tumor. Because the tumor treatment is the primary treatment objective, tumor protection is a major safety issue. There is no approved drug for the treatment of oral mucositis in head and neck cancer (or indeed any "solid" tumor - that is, a tumor affecting an organ rather than the blood). There is only one approved drug for treatment of any type of oral mucositis in hematological cancers. It is called palifermin and it is contraindicated in solid tumors. This is because the treatment (which is actually used prophylactically) is actually a tissue growth factor that could encourage solid tumors to grow. Other "treatments" for OM are not approved drugs, but rather 510k devices - this means that they did not have to show efficacy data to get approved by the FDA. The use of these approaches is considered palliative only and they do not treat the underlying disease. Thus, there are no true treatment options for OM in any solid tumor setting at the current time. Severe OM not only has major impacts on the patient's quality of life and their ability to tolerate a complete course of chemoradiation therapy, it also has a major financial impact. In 2007, it was estimated that head and neck cancer patients that developed severe OM required extra hospitalizations and care that total to about $17,000, and these costs are probably higher today. 2. Ross Silver: SGX942 is what Soligenix is developing to treat OM, and the compound is now in a Phase 3 trial. Can you tell us how SGX942 may improve or neutralize OM? RS: Over years of study, we have come to understand that OM is driven by a dysregulated inflammatory response of the innate immune system. The innate immune system responds to the damage caused by the chemoradiation therapy by triggering an inflammatory signaling cascade, which makes the damage done by the initial chemoradiation even worse. SGX942 is an Innate Defense Regulator. It modulates the innate immune system, enhancing the tissue healing and anti-infective pathways while modulating the inflammatory pathways. Thus, SGX942 deals with the downstream consequences of triggering the innate immune system and thereby prevents the damage from getting worse. Importantly though, it doesn't protect the initial damage to the mucosa that is directly caused by the radiation and chemotherapy, because this would also protect the tumor. The drug is specifically targeted to reduce the amplification of the musical damage caused by the over-exuberant inflammation triggered by this initial insult. It's other actions, bacterial destruction and enhanced tissue healing decrease the duration of the damage that does occur. In the Phase 2 study, we saw a 50% decrease in the duration of severe OM. Severe OM means that the damage to the oral mucosa is so severe the patient has visible ulcers in their mouth and cannot eat and/or drink. We also identified a high risk patient population in the Phase 2 trial, those receiving the highest doses of concomitant chemotherapy, who had a median duration of 30 days of severe OM in the Placebo group - and in this subgroup, treatment with SGX942 (1.5 mg/kg) reduced the duration by 67% (to 10 days). Actually, the Innate Defense Regulators may have some anti-tumor action, as well, but this is not the primary aim of our treatment. Rather, we take this as an encouraging sign that SGX942 will not negatively impact tumor control. In fact, in our Phase 2 study, we saw indications that the SGX942 treatment group (1.5 mg/kg) had a higher rate of complete tumor resolution at the 1-month follow-up visit than the placebo group. We also saw a reduced rate of infection, particularly bacterial (or "non-fungal") infection, also consistent with the mechanism of action. Finally, in the long-term (12 month) follow-up results, which we announced in on December 8, 2016, we also saw a reduced mortality rate in the 1.5 mg/kg SGX942 treated group. I would encourage those reading this interview today to go back and check out the press release. 3. Ross Silver: Is there a possibility SGX942 may eliminate OM? RS: As I noted above, the initial damage to the mouth is done by the chemoradiation therapy that is targeting the tumor, but also causes damage to rapidly dividing cells, such as those found in the mucosa of the mouth. Clearly, this initial damage cannot be "undone" without also protecting the tumor. However, the more severe OM, which is also driven by the innate immune system, certainly can be "undone," and this is the aim of SGX942 treatment. 4. Ross Silver: Switching gears a bit, you have another Phase 3 clinical candidate meant to treat CTCL named SGX301. Can you tell us how SGX301 works and, if approved, what sort of impact the compound may have? RS: SGX301 is a combination product - a topically applied ointment (synthetic hypericin) which is activated by safe, cost-effective fluorescent light. The ointment is applied to the cutaneous T-cell lymphoma lesions (CTCL) for up to 24 hours to allow it to be taken up by the cancerous T-cells in the skin. The following day, the lesion is exposed to fluorescent light for a short period of time (e.g., about 5-10 minutes). The light activates the synthetic hypericin, causing it to release free radicals which induce apoptosis (programmed cell death of the lesion cells only). This is called photodynamic therapy. There is no approved first line treatment for CTCL. There are other photodynamic therapies, which are used off-label, in CTCL - such as PUVA. The distinction here is that this photoactivating agent known as Psoralen is mutagenic and the UVA light used to activate it is carcinogenic; as a result, the product has a BLACK BOX warning for causing other (potentially more fatal) skin cancers, such as melanoma. SGX301 is neither carcinogenic nor mutagenic and is, therefore, potentially much safer to use. This is particularly important because CTCL can be a very slowly progressing disease when appropriately treated, with the need for multiple treatments over years and decades. We expect SGX301 to have a significant impact, if approved, since it will be a very safe therapy for a disease which currently has no available front-line therapy and all secondary therapies come with significant safety concerns. 5. Ross Silver: Soligenix has a robust vaccine program under development that has received nearly $60M in government funding. The Vaccines/BioDefense segment is involved in the development of RiVax, a ricin toxin vaccine candidate, which has completed Phase IB clinical trial for the treatment of vaccine against ricin toxin poisoning; OrbeShield, a GI acute radiation syndrome (GI ARS) therapeutic candidate, which is in pre-clinical stage to treat therapeutics against GI ARS; and SGX943, a melioidosis therapeutic candidate that is in pre-clinical stage for the treatment of melioidosis. Its vaccines are supported by its ThermoVax, a heat stabilization technology. Can you tell us how this heat stabilization technology works? Dr. Oreola Donini ("OD"): Heat stabilization works by "freezing" the protein in a glass-like state with minimal water. This is important because of a lot of protein degradation reactions occur due to water. By minimizing the water, and providing a stable solid state, the protein is protected and remains in its active conformation. While this has long been understood, the presence of aluminum, a common adjuvant in vaccines, causes significant problems with this process. With our proprietary technology, we can even stabilize aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines, and believe there may be even broader applications. The initial use of this technology has been applied to our RiVax® vaccine that, although very effective, was extremely unstable in classic formulations and lost substantial activity over several weeks even in refrigerated conditions. When the vaccine was stabilized using this process, the vaccine was 100% potent after being stored for more than a year at 104°F. 6. Ross Silver: In your most recent press release, you focused on correlates of immune protection. Can you explain what these are and why these are important, particularly in the context of the Animal Rule? OD: As you know, our most advanced thermostabilized vaccine is RiVax®, a vaccine to protect individuals from exposure to ricin. We have tested the antigen (without the thermostablized formulation) in healthy human volunteers and shown it to be safe. We have tested the fully thermostabilized vaccine in animals and shown it to be 100% protective to subsequent ricin exposure, even when the exposure is by aerosol, the most lethal route of exposure. The FDA "Animal Rule" is a way of getting a drug approved for the treatment of diseases or exposures that one cannot ethically generate efficacy data in humans. For example, the RiVax vaccine is designed protect people exposed to ricin, most likely as the result of terrorist or military use of the extremely deadly poison, from dying from the poison. Obviously, it is unethical to conduct a typical clinical trial in which some subjects get the drug and a separate group gets an inactive placebo and then exposed both group to ricin exposure and see how many die in each group. Because the need to prove efficacy in situations in which human trials are ethically impossible but critically needed to protect high-risk groups of people, a common situation with biodefense products, the FDA established a route for Marketing Approval usually referred to as the Animal Rule. Under the Animal Rule you need to demonstrate the following key things: 1. That your treatment is safe in humans; 2. That your treatment is effective in animals; and 3. That you can predict efficacy and dosing in humans based on your animal studies. This means that the disease in animals must mimic the disease in humans and that the response of the animals to your treatment is the same as would be expected in humans and that there is some metric you can use to assess the needed dose in humans. In terms of ricin intoxication - the animal models are very reproducible of the human disease (the toxin kills all cells the same way). We have already demonstrated in a pilot study that non-human primates respond to our vaccine in a similar manner as humans. The last step was to predict the appropriate dose levels to use in humans. In the vaccine world, this means being able to determine a level of immunogenicity in animals that correlates to survival in animals and then show that humans (say in a Phase 1 trial) can achieve the same level of immunogenicity. This last step is the one we have begun to make progress on. With our colleagues at HRI/NYSDOH in the laboratory of Dr. Nicholas Mantis, we have identified a panel of assays which shows a very promising ability to predict protection in animals. That is, if we draw blood before the animal that is challenged with ricin, testing the blood alone will allow us to predict whether the animal may survive the challenge. Once we have finished testing these methods, we'll be able to use these same methods to test vaccinated humans and demonstrate they can obtain similar levels of immunogenicity. 7. Ross Silver: Lastly and, not to sound like a broken record, but as it relates to the vaccine candidates, how are they better than other options available now? OD: Our ricin toxin vaccine is the most advanced product. The only other product in this area has been stalled in testing for some years now. Moreover, our product (RiVax) is also the only thermostable option, suggesting that it can be efficiently stockpiled and shipped as needed without concerns about cold chain integrity. For a full list of disclaimers and disclosures, please visit: https://sylvacap.com/disclaimer. I serve as the CEO of Sylva International, and my firm and I are shareholders of Soligenix. I recently had the opportunity to converse with Dr. Chris Schaber, CEO of Soligenix (NASDAQ: SNGX), regarding the current status and future of Soligenix. I came away from our conversation very excited for a number of reasons, which I will get to shortly. I also asked Dr. Schaber if Dr. Straube (CMO) and Dr. Donini (CSO) would be willing to respond to some questions I had regarding their clinical pipeline. Before getting to the Q&A with Drs. Straube and Donini, I wanted to highlight a subject that came up in my conversation with Dr. Schaber. The subject was the $25M mixed prospectus/shelf that was filed on May 5 th. It seems to me that many investors perceived this prospectus as the company seeking to raise capital immediately and, as such, the share price has been under pressure. For those of you who do not know me, I have been investing in and advising public companies for nearly 20 years. I am a Registered Investment Advisor in my home state of Oregon, as is my firm, Sylva International. In this day and age, any development stage small/microcap public company should have a shelf on file with the SEC, in my opinion, as it may provide the company with considerable optionality and negotiating leverage. Let's address negotiating leverage. Assume a company wishes to acquire Soligenix as a whole, rather than acquire one of the many assets Soligenix owns and is developing. Without an effective shelf registration in place, Soligenix will likely be valued based solely on the cash on their balance sheet (approximately $9M at year end 2016), plus the negotiated value of their assets under development. However, with a $25 million shelf in place, and personally I wish it was a $250 million shelf, Soligenix now has negotiating power and considerable optionality because their stock can be used as an asset to raise capital. When negotiating with a potential acquirer, the financing alternative is leverage that can be used to either strike a better deal for shareholders, or walk away from the transaction altogether. Given Soligenix's new found liquidity, the company could raise $25M tomorrow, should it choose, which means Sologenix will be able to negotiate from a position of strength. Soligenix did not have this optionality just two months ago. To those of you worried about any dilution at the current valuation, per my recent discussion with Dr. Schaber, CEO of Soligenix, there is no plan to raise money as it is not needed. Not to sound like a broken record (remember those?), Dr. Schaber stated emphatically to me that the company has zero intention of raising any money at the current valuation and that Soligenix raised money in December 2016 and, as such, has no pressing need for cash. With that stated, Dr. Schaber also understands what the significant increase in average dollar volume means to Soligenix and that is what has me smiling, as a shareholder! Two months ago, March 9th 2017, the company could not raise $25M money, given the average daily trading volume was a meager 101,355 shares a day over the past 30 calendar days from March 9th to February 9th. The average daily volume in that 30 calendar day period multiplied by the share price on March 9th equated to $236,157 of average daily dollar volume, given the closing price on March 9, 2017 of Soligenix was $2.33. Now, let's fast forward to May 9th, 2017 and the stock closed at $2.55 and average daily trading volume over the past 30 calendar days has been 1,609,836, which equates to $4,105,082 of average daily dollar volume, a MASSIVE difference. This increase in daily dollar trading volume over the past 30 calendar days is of major value for shareholders of Soligenix - allow me to explain why. Let's go back to my hypothetical acquirer looking to buy Soligenix, before the substantial increase of Soligenix average daily dollar trading volume; the hypothetical acquirer would calculate their acquisition price by utilizing a risk adjusted net present value calculation ("NPV"), which essentially takes the estimated value of a stream of future cash flows that result from sales of developed drugs, then discounts that value to a present day figure, and adds cash and cash equivalents that are currently on the company's balance sheet. With a shelf in place, however, a prospective acquirer or partner must take into consideration that Soligenix has the ability to raise $25M, literally overnight, given the increase in average daily dollar trading volume. As a result, the NPV calculation will be adjusted considerably, because the company has viable financing options. In turn, the optionality provides Sologenix with negotiating leverage, making the company A LOT more valuable. For fun, let's assume Soligenix gains FDA approval for SGX942 in Oral Mucositis and launches SGX942 by itself. Many experts have stated that the market for Oral Mucositis is $500M, or greater, annually worldwide. SGX942 has a number of potential benefits that may help those afflicted with Oral Mucositis and, as such, Soligenix may garner a majority, if not all, of the market share for this $500M+ market. So, given that assumption, what is Soligenix worth today? The answer has to be something in excess of the meager $13.95M market cap at which the company now trades. This massive increase in average daily dollar trading volume should be met with cheers versus jeers by shareholders. The reason why it should be cheers versus jeers is because the value of partnering or purchasing Soligenix just went up substantially because of the optionality and leverage Soligenix now has given this increase in average daily dollar volume. Many of you have called or emailed me asking me why the stock price is under pressure, why the company filed a $25M shelf, and what do I think? Well, now you know why I answer the phone downright giddy as it relates to Soligenix, as it sure looks like they are shining! As I mentioned earlier in this article, I conducted a Q&A with Dr. Richard Straube, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Soligenix and Dr. Oreola Donini, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Soligenix. As promised, our Q&A is below: 1. Ross Silver: When evaluating the compounds used to manage Oral Mucositis ("OM"), what options currently exist, what do they cost annually, and how do they improve or neutralize OM, if at all? Dr. Richard Straube ("RS"): As you know, oral mucositis (OM) is an extremely debilitating side effect of many cancer treatments. Although there are ways to prevent OM, for some treatments, this may come with the risk of also protecting the tumor. Because the tumor treatment is the primary treatment objective, tumor protection is a major safety issue. There is no approved drug for the treatment of oral mucositis in head and neck cancer (or indeed any "solid" tumor - that is, a tumor affecting an organ rather than the blood). There is only one approved drug for treatment of any type of oral mucositis in hematological cancers. It is called palifermin and it is contraindicated in solid tumors. This is because the treatment (which is actually used prophylactically) is actually a tissue growth factor that could encourage solid tumors to grow. Other "treatments" for OM are not approved drugs, but rather 510k devices - this means that they did not have to show efficacy data to get approved by the FDA. The use of these approaches is considered palliative only and they do not treat the underlying disease. Thus, there are no true treatment options for OM in any solid tumor setting at the current time. Severe OM not only has major impacts on the patient's quality of life and their ability to tolerate a complete course of chemoradiation therapy, it also has a major financial impact. In 2007, it was estimated that head and neck cancer patients that developed severe OM required extra hospitalizations and care that total to about $17,000, and these costs are probably higher today. 2. Ross Silver: SGX942 is what Soligenix is developing to treat OM, and the compound is now in a Phase 3 trial. Can you tell us how SGX942 may improve or neutralize OM? RS: Over years of study, we have come to understand that OM is driven by a dysregulated inflammatory response of the innate immune system. The innate immune system responds to the damage caused by the chemoradiation therapy by triggering an inflammatory signaling cascade, which makes the damage done by the initial chemoradiation even worse. SGX942 is an Innate Defense Regulator. It modulates the innate immune system, enhancing the tissue healing and anti-infective pathways while modulating the inflammatory pathways. Thus, SGX942 deals with the downstream consequences of triggering the innate immune system and thereby prevents the damage from getting worse. Importantly though, it doesn't protect the initial damage to the mucosa that is directly caused by the radiation and chemotherapy, because this would also protect the tumor. The drug is specifically targeted to reduce the amplification of the musical damage caused by the over-exuberant inflammation triggered by this initial insult. It's other actions, bacterial destruction and enhanced tissue healing decrease the duration of the damage that does occur. In the Phase 2 study, we saw a 50% decrease in the duration of severe OM. Severe OM means that the damage to the oral mucosa is so severe the patient has visible ulcers in their mouth and cannot eat and/or drink. We also identified a high risk patient population in the Phase 2 trial, those receiving the highest doses of concomitant chemotherapy, who had a median duration of 30 days of severe OM in the Placebo group - and in this subgroup, treatment with SGX942 (1.5 mg/kg) reduced the duration by 67% (to 10 days). Actually, the Innate Defense Regulators may have some anti-tumor action, as well, but this is not the primary aim of our treatment. Rather, we take this as an encouraging sign that SGX942 will not negatively impact tumor control. In fact, in our Phase 2 study, we saw indications that the SGX942 treatment group (1.5 mg/kg) had a higher rate of complete tumor resolution at the 1-month follow-up visit than the placebo group. We also saw a reduced rate of infection, particularly bacterial (or "non-fungal") infection, also consistent with the mechanism of action. Finally, in the long-term (12 month) follow-up results, which we announced in on December 8, 2016, we also saw a reduced mortality rate in the 1.5 mg/kg SGX942 treated group. I would encourage those reading this interview today to go back and check out the press release. 3. Ross Silver: Is there a possibility SGX942 may eliminate OM? RS: As I noted above, the initial damage to the mouth is done by the chemoradiation therapy that is targeting the tumor, but also causes damage to rapidly dividing cells, such as those found in the mucosa of the mouth. Clearly, this initial damage cannot be "undone" without also protecting the tumor. However, the more severe OM, which is also driven by the innate immune system, certainly can be "undone," and this is the aim of SGX942 treatment. 4. Ross Silver: Switching gears a bit, you have another Phase 3 clinical candidate meant to treat CTCL named SGX301. Can you tell us how SGX301 works and, if approved, what sort of impact the compound may have? RS: SGX301 is a combination product - a topically applied ointment (synthetic hypericin) which is activated by safe, cost-effective fluorescent light. The ointment is applied to the cutaneous T-cell lymphoma lesions (CTCL) for up to 24 hours to allow it to be taken up by the cancerous T-cells in the skin. The following day, the lesion is exposed to fluorescent light for a short period of time (e.g., about 5-10 minutes). The light activates the synthetic hypericin, causing it to release free radicals which induce apoptosis (programmed cell death of the lesion cells only). This is called photodynamic therapy. There is no approved first line treatment for CTCL. There are other photodynamic therapies, which are used off-label, in CTCL - such as PUVA. The distinction here is that this photoactivating agent known as Psoralen is mutagenic and the UVA light used to activate it is carcinogenic; as a result, the product has a BLACK BOX warning for causing other (potentially more fatal) skin cancers, such as melanoma. SGX301 is neither carcinogenic nor mutagenic and is, therefore, potentially much safer to use. This is particularly important because CTCL can be a very slowly progressing disease when appropriately treated, with the need for multiple treatments over years and decades. We expect SGX301 to have a significant impact, if approved, since it will be a very safe therapy for a disease which currently has no available front-line therapy and all secondary therapies come with significant safety concerns. 5. Ross Silver: Soligenix has a robust vaccine program under development that has received nearly $60M in government funding. The Vaccines/BioDefense segment is involved in the development of RiVax, a ricin toxin vaccine candidate, which has completed Phase IB clinical trial for the treatment of vaccine against ricin toxin poisoning; OrbeShield, a GI acute radiation syndrome (GI ARS) therapeutic candidate, which is in pre-clinical stage to treat therapeutics against GI ARS; and SGX943, a melioidosis therapeutic candidate that is in pre-clinical stage for the treatment of melioidosis. Its vaccines are supported by its ThermoVax, a heat stabilization technology. Can you tell us how this heat stabilization technology works? Dr. Oreola Donini ("OD"): Heat stabilization works by "freezing" the protein in a glass-like state with minimal water. This is important because of a lot of protein degradation reactions occur due to water. By minimizing the water, and providing a stable solid state, the protein is protected and remains in its active conformation. While this has long been understood, the presence of aluminum, a common adjuvant in vaccines, causes significant problems with this process. With our proprietary technology, we can even stabilize aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines, and believe there may be even broader applications. The initial use of this technology has been applied to our RiVax® vaccine that, although very effective, was extremely unstable in classic formulations and lost substantial activity over several weeks even in refrigerated conditions. When the vaccine was stabilized using this process, the vaccine was 100% potent after being stored for more than a year at 104°F. 6. Ross Silver: In your most recent press release, you focused on correlates of immune protection. Can you explain what these are and why these are important, particularly in the context of the Animal Rule? OD: As you know, our most advanced thermostabilized vaccine is RiVax®, a vaccine to protect individuals from exposure to ricin. We have tested the antigen (without the thermostablized formulation) in healthy human volunteers and shown it to be safe. We have tested the fully thermostabilized vaccine in animals and shown it to be 100% protective to subsequent ricin exposure, even when the exposure is by aerosol, the most lethal route of exposure. The FDA "Animal Rule" is a way of getting a drug approved for the treatment of diseases or exposures that one cannot ethically generate efficacy data in humans. For example, the RiVax vaccine is designed protect people exposed to ricin, most likely as the result of terrorist or military use of the extremely deadly poison, from dying from the poison. Obviously, it is unethical to conduct a typical clinical trial in which some subjects get the drug and a separate group gets an inactive placebo and then exposed both group to ricin exposure and see how many die in each group. Because the need to prove efficacy in situations in which human trials are ethically impossible but critically needed to protect high-risk groups of people, a common situation with biodefense products, the FDA established a route for Marketing Approval usually referred to as the Animal Rule. Under the Animal Rule you need to demonstrate the following key things: 1. That your treatment is safe in humans; 2. That your treatment is effective in animals; and 3. That you can predict efficacy and dosing in humans based on your animal studies. This means that the disease in animals must mimic the disease in humans and that the response of the animals to your treatment is the same as would be expected in humans and that there is some metric you can use to assess the needed dose in humans. In terms of ricin intoxication - the animal models are very reproducible of the human disease (the toxin kills all cells the same way). We have already demonstrated in a pilot study that non-human primates respond to our vaccine in a similar manner as humans. The last step was to predict the appropriate dose levels to use in humans. In the vaccine world, this means being able to determine a level of immunogenicity in animals that correlates to survival in animals and then show that humans (say in a Phase 1 trial) can achieve the same level of immunogenicity. This last step is the one we have begun to make progress on. With our colleagues at HRI/NYSDOH in the laboratory of Dr. Nicholas Mantis, we have identified a panel of assays which shows a very promising ability to predict protection in animals. That is, if we draw blood before the animal that is challenged with ricin, testing the blood alone will allow us to predict whether the animal may survive the challenge. Once we have finished testing these methods, we'll be able to use these same methods to test vaccinated humans and demonstrate they can obtain similar levels of immunogenicity. 7. Ross Silver: Lastly and, not to sound like a broken record, but as it relates to the vaccine candidates, how are they better than other options available now? OD: Our ricin toxin vaccine is the most advanced product. The only other product in this area has been stalled in testing for some years now. Moreover, our product (RiVax) is also the only thermostable option, suggesting that it can be efficiently stockpiled and shipped as needed without concerns about cold chain integrity. For a full list of disclaimers and disclosures, please visit: https://sylvacap.com/disclaimer.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: phys.org

In an article to be published next week in the Entomological Society of America's Environmental Entomology, researchers argue that the Varroa mite has "co-opted" several honey bee behaviors to its own benefit, allowing it to disperse widely even though the mite itself is not a highly mobile insect. The mite's ability to hitchhike on wandering bees, the infections it transmits to bees, and the density of colonies in managed beekeeping settings make for a deadly combination. "Beekeepers need to rethink Varroa control and treat Varroa as a migratory pest," says Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, Ph.D., research leader and location coordinator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service's Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Arizona, and lead author of the research. In the wild, bee colonies tend to survive despite Varroa infestations, and colonies are usually located far enough apart to prevent mites from hitching rides to other colonies on foraging bees. Wild bee colonies' natural habit of periodically swarming—when the colony grows large enough that a portion of its bees splinter off to create a new colony elsewhere—also serves as a mechanism for thinning out the density of mite infestations and their associated pathogens. In managed honey bee settings, though, these dynamics are disrupted, DeGrandi-Hoffman says. Colonies are kept in close proximity, and swarming is prevented. DeGrandi-Hoffman, USDA-ARS colleague Henry Graham, and Fabiana Ahumada of AgScience Consulting, conducted an 11-month study of 120 honey bee colonies in one commercial bee operation, comparing those treated with mite-targeting insecticide (miticide) in the spring and fall with those treated only in the fall, and they found no significant difference in the results: more than half of the colonies were lost across the board. This aligns with what has been seen by beekeepers and researchers alike in recent years: Varroa populations continue to grow even after being treated with effective miticides. But why? The answer may be in its dispersal mechanisms. The researchers also conducted mathematical simulations of Varroa mite population dynamics to examine the effects of both migration of foragers between colonies and swarming. When bees can wander into other colonies—either to "rob" them of their honey or because they've simply lost their way—Varroa populations across colonies climb. Likewise, prohibiting colonies from splintering periodically via swarming also leads mite populations to rise. In the wild, DeGrandi-Hoffman and her colleagues note, driving a colony to collapse is against Varroa mites' own interest; if the colony dies, the mites die with it. But in commercial beekeeping settings, increasing infestation of a colony activates the dispersal mechanisms the mites need to spread. Weakened foragers are more likely to wander to other colonies, and weakened colonies are more likely to see foragers from healthy colonies visit to rob them of honey. In both cases, mites can hitch a ride from one colony to another. It all adds up to a critical point for managed honey bee industry. The researchers cite the need for new integrated pest management strategies to treat Varroa destructor as a migratory pest, as well as for further research into the specifics of Varroa dispersal. "Colony losses in the U.S. are at unsustainable levels for commercial beekeepers. These beekeepers supply colonies for the pollination of crops that represent one-third of U.S. agriculture and are essential components of heart healthy and cancer-prevention diets," says DeGrandi-Hoffman. "This research provides evidence that the tried and true ways of controlling Varroa are no longer feasible, and that new methods that are designed for control of a migratory pest are required." "Are Dispersal Mechanisms Changing the Host-Parasite Relationship and Increasing the Virulence of Varroa destructor (Mesostigmata: Varroidae) in Managed Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Colonies?" by Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, Fabiana Ahumada, and Henry Graham, will be published online on May 9 in Environmental Entomology. Explore further: To save honey bees, human behavior must change More information: Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman et al, Are Dispersal Mechanisms Changing the Host–Parasite Relationship and Increasing the Virulence of Varroa destructor (Mesostigmata: Varroidae) in Managed Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Colonies?, Environmental Entomology (2017). DOI: 10.1093/ee/nvx077


CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - May 23, 2017) - Crown Point Energy Inc. (TSX VENTURE:CWV) ("Crown Point", the "Company" or "we") today announced its operating and financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2017. Copies of the Company's unaudited condensed interim consolidated financial statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A") filings for the three months ended March 31, 2017 are being filed with Canadian securities regulatory authorities and will be made available under the Company's profile at www.sedar.com and on the Company's website at www.crownpointenergy.com. All dollar figures are expressed in United States dollars ("USD") unless otherwise stated. In the following discussion, the three months ended March 31, 2017 may be referred to as "Q1 2017", the comparative three months ended March 31, 2016 referred to as "Q1 2016", and the previous three months ended December 31, 2016 referred to as "Q4 2016". In Q4 2016, the Company requested a two year extension of the December 31, 2016 commitment dates for drilling one exploration well on each of the Rio Cullen and La Angostura Concessions. Approval of the extension was received from both the Secretary of Energy and Governor of the Province, however the approval was not ratified prior to the Christmas recess of the Provincial Legislature on December 15, 2016. Accordingly, the Company and its partners commenced preparation of the two drilling sites (RC x-1002 in Rio Cullen and SM x-1001 in La Angostura) in late December 2016. SM x-1001 was drilled and cased in Q1 2017 and RC x-1002 commenced drilling in March 2017 and was cased in April 2017. Perforation and testing of both wells is planned to commence in June 2017. The Company fulfilled the Rio Cullen concession expenditure commitment during Q1 2017 and expects to fulfill the La Angostura concession expenditure commitment by June 30, 2017. Prospect identification and evaluation to develop additional exploitation, step out and appraisal locations on the Las Violetas Concession is ongoing. The Company has a 100% working interest in the 100,907 acre area covered by the Cerro de Los Leones ("CLL") Concession Permit, which is located in the northern portion of the Neuquén Basin in the Province of Mendoza, Argentina. In Q4 2016, the Company applied for an extension to the Period 2 exploration period which was to expire on May 21, 2017. The extension was requested to allow the Company time to acquire 234km2 of 3-D seismic and drill one exploration well. In March 2017, the Mendoza provincial government formally agreed to extend the deadline to acquire seismic until January 22, 2018 and informally agreed to extend the commitment to drill one exploration well for an unspecified period following the acquisition of seismic. The Company is seeking a partner in the CLL concession to share future capital costs and provide capital cost recovery opportunities on existing and previous capital projects. Crown Point estimates a total of $12.3 million of capital expenditures for 2017 comprised of $3.5 million of expenditures on the TDF concessions and $8.8 million of expenditures on the CLL concession (which will be reduced if the Company obtains a partner at CLL). Crown Point expects to meet these obligations, along with its other anticipated expenses, using funds flow from operations, expected proceeds from Petróleo Plus bonds as well as additional debt and/or equity financings and potential joint venture arrangements. The Company anticipates the following activities to occur during Q2 2017 and Q3 2017 at a total estimated cost of $11 million: Since December 2015, the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, has undertaken several measures to stabilize the Argentine economy and rebuild trust and confidence. Some of these measures include: relaxing of currency controls, reaching an agreement with holdout creditors, lifting restrictions to capital inflow/outflow, returning to the international capital markets, removing or reducing export duties, gradually removing import restrictions, correcting exchange rates and subsidies, and reestablishing relations with countries that have traditionally been Argentina's business and political partners. Recent impacts of these changes include an increase in interest rates by the Central Bank of Argentina to control inflation; a decrease in Argentina's inflation rate, although it still remains high; and a stabilization of the ARS/USD exchange rate. The Argentine government continues its efforts to attract investment in Argentina, particularly in the energy sector, and the response from foreign investors has been positive. Following his election, President Macri replaced the Secretaría de Energía with the Ministry of Energy and Mines and appointed Juan Jose Aranguren, the former CEO of Shell´s Argentine branch, as the Minister. The reorganization of Argentina's Federal Administration for Energy underlines the strategic importance of the energy industry to the Macri government. One of the first acts of the Ministry of Energy and Mines was the implementation of measures to gradually reduce subsidized natural gas and electricity residential rates over a three year period. In January 2017, at the request of the Government of Argentina, an agreement to converge the Medanito and Escalante oil prices with international Brent pricing over the coming months (the "Pricing Agreement") was signed by a majority of producers and refiners in Argentina. Under the terms of the Pricing Agreement, local refiners will pay $59.40 per bbl for Medanito crude oil and $48.30 per bbl for Escalante crude oil in January 2017 and the prices will be gradually decreased every month until they reach $55 per bbl and $47 per bbl, respectively, in July 2017. Prices in effect in July 2017 will then be applicable until December 31, 2017, when the terms of the Pricing Agreement are set to expire. The Pricing Agreement will remain in place until December 31, 2017 unless (1) the Brent price falls below $45 per bbl for ten consecutive days or (2) the Argentinian peso depreciates more than 20%, in which case the Pricing Agreement will be renegotiated. Further, the Pricing Agreement outlines that should Brent remain higher than $1.00 above the monthly Medanito floor price for ten consecutive days, the Pricing Agreement will be suspended and the Brent price will be adopted. Oil from Crown Point's TDF concessions is sold at a discount to the Medanito crude oil price. Under the terms of the Pricing Agreement and taking the discount into account, the Company expects to receive an average of $47.85 per bbl for its TDF oil in 2017. On October 6, 2016, the Ministry of Energy and Mines issued Resolution 212/2016 which specified that new prices for residential users would commence on October 7, 2016 with a 300% to 400% increase limit to prices set in the comparative period of the previous year, depending on the type of residential user, and a 500% increase limit for small and medium-sized companies. The Company expects to receive an average of $3.73 per mcf for its TDF gas in 2017. The Company's operating netback was lower in Q1 2017 as compared to Q1 2016 due primarily to a decrease in oil and gas revenue per BOE and an increase in operating costs per BOE. During Q1 2017, the Company's average daily sales volumes were 1,200 BOE per day, down 15% from 1,412 BOE per day in Q4 2016 and down 18% from 1,462 BOE per day in Q1 2016 due mainly to lower sales of inventoried volumes of oil in Q1 2017 combined with natural declines. TDF average daily production volumes for Q1 2017 were 1,298 BOE per day, down 2% from 1,329 BOE per day in Q4 2016 and down 9% from 1,421 BOE per day in Q1 2016. The decrease in Q1 2017 daily production volumes is due to the natural decline of wells. Operating costs are higher in Q1 2017 as compared to Q1 2016 due mainly to increased contract operator costs caused by increased operating activity, as well as higher costs related to company labor and supervision and access rights. G&A expenses were 2% lower in Q1 2017 compared to Q1 2016. The decrease in Q1 2017 G&A expenses is due to a reduction in staffing levels, the closing of the Calgary office and cost savings achieved in the Argentina offices. Crown Point Energy Inc. is an international oil and gas exploration and development company headquartered in Calgary, Canada, incorporated in Canada, trading on the TSX Venture Exchange and operating in South America. Crown Point's exploration and development activities are focused in two of the largest producing basins in Argentina, the Austral basin in the province of Tierra del Fuego and the Neuquén basin, in the province of Mendoza. Crown Point has a strategy that focuses on establishing a portfolio of producing properties, plus production enhancement and exploration opportunities to provide a basis for future growth. Certain Oil and Gas Disclosures: Barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. A boe conversion ratio of six thousand cubic feet (6 Mcf) to one barrel (1 bbl) is based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead. In addition, given that the value ratio based on the current price of crude oil in Argentina as compared to the current price of natural gas in Argentina is significantly different from the energy equivalency of 6:1, utilizing a conversion on a 6:1 basis may be misleading as an indication of value. "Mcf" means thousand cubic feet. "bbls" means barrels. "km" means kilometers. "3-D" means three dimensional. "Q2" means the second quarter. "Q3" means the third quarter. This press release also contains other industry benchmarks and terms, including "operating netbacks" (calculated on a per unit basis as oil, natural gas and natural gas liquid revenues less royalties, transportation and operating costs), which is a non-IFRS measure. Management believes this measure is a useful supplemental measure of the Company's profitability relative to commodity prices. Readers are cautioned, however, that operating netbacks should not be construed as an alternative to other terms such as net income as determined in accordance with IFRS as measures of performance. Crown Point's method of calculating this measure may differ from other companies, and accordingly, may not be comparable to similar measures used by other companies. Non-IFRS Measures: This press release contains the term "funds flow from (used by) operations" which should not be considered an alternative to, or more meaningful than, operating cash flows from (used by) operations as determined in accordance with IFRS as an indicator of the Company's performance. Funds flow from (used by) operations and funds flow from (used by) operations per share (basic and diluted) do not have any standardized meanings prescribed by IFRS and may not be comparable with the calculation of similar measures used by other entities. Management uses funds flow from (used by) operations to analyze operating performance and considers funds flow from (used by) operations to be a key measure as it demonstrates the Company's ability to generate cash necessary to fund future capital investment. Funds flow from (used by) operations per share is calculated using the basic and diluted weighted average number of shares for the period consistent with the calculations of earnings per share. A reconciliation of funds flow from (used by) operations to cash flows from (used by) operations is presented in the March 31, 2017 MD&A which will be made available under the Company's profile at www.sedar.com. Forward looking information: Certain information set forth in this document is considered forward-looking information, and necessarily involves risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond Crown Point's control, including: under "Operational Update - Tierra del Fuego Concession", the operations that the Company intends to conduct on certain of its TDF assets and the planned timing thereof and the benefits that the Company expects to derive therefrom; under "Operational Update - Cerro de Los Leones Concession", the operations that the Company intends to conduct on certain of its CLL assets and the expected timing thereof and the benefits that the Company expects to derive therefrom and the intention to seek a partner at CLL; under "Outlook", our estimated capital expenditures for fiscal 2017 and Q2 and Q3 2017 combined, the allocation of expenditures between our TDF and CLL concessions, the elements of our capital program for these periods, our estimates of the costs to complete the elements of the program and the timing thereof, and our expectations for how we will fund our capital programs; under "Developments in Argentina - Political and Economic Developments", our expectations for policies that the Government of Argentina will pursue going forward (including the implementation of gradual increases in natural gas prices) and their potential impact on the oil and gas industry in Argentina generally and the Company in particular; and under "Developments in Argentina - Commodity Price Developments - Crude Oil / Natural Gas", our expectations regarding the impact that the Argentine government's evolving energy policies and reforms may have on commodity prices in Argentina, including the Company's estimates with respect to its realized commodity prices for 2017. Such risks include but are not limited to: the failure to satisfy work commitments and the resulting loss of exploration and exploitation rights and, in the case of CLL, the obligation to pay the value of such unsatisfied work commitments to the provincial government; risks associated with oil and gas exploration, development, exploitation, production, marketing and transportation; risks associated with operating in Argentina, including risks of changing government regulations (including the adoption of, amendments to, or the cancellation of government incentive programs or other laws and regulations relating to commodity prices, taxation, currency controls and export restrictions, in each case that may adversely impact Crown Point), risks that new government initiatives will not have the consequences the Company believes (including the benefits to be derived therefrom), the risk that the Company may not receive any bonds in consideration of its Petróleo Plus and Gas Plus credits, expropriation/nationalization of assets, price controls on commodity prices, inability to enforce contracts in certain circumstances, the potential for a hyperinflationary economic environment, and other economic and political risks; loss of markets and other economic and industry conditions; volatility of commodity prices; currency fluctuations; imprecision of reserve estimates; environmental risks; competition from other producers; inability to retain drilling services; incorrect assessment of value of acquisitions and failure to realize the benefits therefrom; delays resulting from or inability to obtain required regulatory approvals; the lack of availability of qualified personnel or management; stock market volatility and ability to access sufficient capital from internal and external sources; and economic or industry condition changes. Actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking information and, accordingly, no assurance can be given that any events anticipated by the forward-looking information will transpire or occur, or if any of them do so, what benefits that Crown Point will derive therefrom. With respect to forward-looking information contained herein, the Company has made assumptions regarding: the impact of increasing competition; the general stability of the economic and political environment in Argentina; the timely receipt of any required regulatory approvals; the ability of the Company to obtain qualified staff, equipment and services in a timely and cost efficient manner; drilling results; the costs of obtaining equipment and personnel to complete the Company's capital expenditure program; the ability of the operator of the projects which the Company has an interest in to operate the field in a safe, efficient and effective manner; the ability of the Company to obtain financing on acceptable terms when and if needed; field production rates and decline rates; the ability to replace and expand oil and natural gas reserves through acquisition, development and exploration activities; the timing and costs of pipeline, storage and facility construction and expansion and the ability of the Company to secure adequate product transportation; future oil and natural gas prices; costs of operational activities in Argentina (including in respect of the operations described herein); currency, exchange and interest rates; the regulatory framework regarding royalties, commodity price controls, import/export matters, taxes and environmental matters in Argentina; and the ability of the Company to successfully market its oil and natural gas products. Additional information on these and other factors that could affect Crown Point are included in reports on file with Canadian securities regulatory authorities, including under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's most recent annual information form, and may be accessed through the SEDAR website (www.sedar.com). Furthermore, the forward-looking information contained in this document are made as of the date of this document, and Crown Point does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be expressly required by applicable securities law. Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.


News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

ARS has been part of HomeAdvisor's network since 2004. "As a part of our mission, ARS is committed to delivering an unparalleled customer experience," says Chris Mellon, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer of ARS. "We are proud of our service providers that received this recognition from their customers." "Millions of homeowners across the nation trust HomeAdvisor to help them find a dependable, qualified professional for their home improvement projects," said HomeAdvisor's President Craig Smith. "Between outstanding work practices, excellent customer service and overall value, the service providers that receive our "Best of" award consistently demonstrate this sense of quality." Award recipients were selected based on positive reviews earned in quality of work practices, customer service and value. To qualify, they must have a minimum rating of four based on a scale of one to five, be active members in good standing and have at least three verified reviews submitted within the last six months. Prior to joining the HomeAdvisor network, all service providers are subject to a comprehensive screening. Upon successfully passing the screening, professionals are given a HomeAdvisor seal of approval to display to their customers. HomeAdvisor's digital home services marketplace connects millions of homeowners with prescreened home improvement professionals, and provides homeowners with tools and resources for home repair, maintenance and improvement projects. Customers can view average project costs using True Cost Guide, and instantly book appointments online with HomeAdvisor's award-winning app, and through Smart Home devices. For more information about HomeAdvisor, visit HomeAdvisor.com. ABOUT AMERICAN RESIDENTIAL SERVICES: Based in Memphis, Tenn., privately-owned ARS operates a network of more than 70 locally-managed service centers in 23 states, with approximately 6,500 employees. The ARS network features industry-leading brands including, A.J. Perri, Aksarben ARS, Allgood, Andy's Statewide, ARS, Aspen Air Conditioning, Atlas Trillo, Beutler, Blue Dot, Brothers, Columbus Worthington Air, Comfort Heating & Air, Conway Services, Efficient Attic Systems (EAS), Florida Home Air Conditioning, Green Star Home Services, McCarthy Services, Rescue Rooter/ Proserv, Rescue Rooter, RighTime Home Services, RS Andrews, The Irish Plumber, Unique Services, "Will" Fix It, and Yes! Air Conditioning and Plumbing. United by Exceptional Service®, the ARS / Rescue Rooter Network serves both residential and light commercial customers by providing heating, cooling, indoor air quality, plumbing, drain cleaning, sewer line, radiant barrier, insulation and ventilation services. Each location has a knowledgeable team of trained specialists, who have undergone rigorous drug testing and criminal background checks. Providing exceptional service and ensuring the highest standards of quality, ARS has the experience to do any job right – the first time, with all work fully guaranteed. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/seven-ars-network-providers-receive-the-2017-best-of-homeadvisor-award-300463740.html


News Article | May 26, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

American Residential Services (ARS), a Memphis, Tenn. based, privately-held national provider of air conditioning, heating and plumbing services, is honoring those who served in the armed forces by executing community outreach initiatives geared towards veterans. The ARS Cares for Veterans initiative aims at donating an HVAC system or water heater to a veteran in need. Additionally, employees have volunteered for veterans’ agencies by planting vegetable gardens and cooking over 150 meals for homeless veterans. ARS has also sponsored several charity benefits for veterans’ organizations. ARS has completed six HVAC and hot water heater installations to veterans-in-need as part of the ARS Cares Program. ARS has been working in targeted markets alongside veterans’ services agencies to complete this project. So far, veterans in San Diego, Tampa, Dallas, Memphis, and Salt Lake City have enjoyed new installations. In addition to giving away HVAC and water heater equipment and installation, ARS employees in every branch across the country will be engaging in volunteer and civic opportunities geared towards veterans’ services. Prior to Memorial Day, Conway Services, a network provider for ARS, joined corporate ARS employees at the Alpha Omega Veterans Services Court Avenue location. There, they tilled and planted an 18 by 8-foot plot and planted donated vegetables and herbs. Additionally, the volunteers spruced up pre-established vegetable boxes as well as donated homemade casseroles to the facility. “I am elated that we have strong support from ARS. It is tremendously impactful to our clients at Alpha Omega to see people in our community make an effort to spend time with them and help them with various projects,” says Cordell Walker, Executive Director of Alpha Omega Veterans Services. “We use gardening at two of our facilities as part of alternative therapy, so donating time and resources in this way is invaluable to us.” As the “Medal of Honor” sponsor, ARS contributed to the Military Masquerade’s fundraising efforts, which ultimately rose over $40,000 for Alpha Omega Veterans Services and their programming. “It is a privilege to be able to serve those who have selflessly served our country,” says Dave Slott, ARS CEO. As gratitude to the men and women of the armed forces of both past and present, ARS will continue to grow in their veteran initiatives at their 70 branches across the country, and they wish everyone an enjoyable and reflective Memorial Day. -Please see attachments for visual collateral- ABOUT AMERICAN RESIDENTIAL SERVICES: Based in Memphis, Tenn., privately-owned ARS operates a network of more than 70 locally-managed service centers in 23 states, with approximately 6,500 employees. The ARS network features industry-leading brands including, A.J. Perri, Aksarben ARS, Allgood, Andy’s Statewide, ARS, Aspen Air Conditioning, Atlas Trillo, Beutler, Blue Dot, Brothers, Columbus Worthington Air, Comfort Heating & Air, Conway Services, Efficient Attic Systems (EAS), Florida Home Air Conditioning, Green Star Home Services, McCarthy Services, Rescue Rooter/ Proserv, Rescue Rooter, RighTime Home Services, RS Andrews, The Irish Plumber, Unique Services, "Will" Fix It, and Yes! Air Conditioning and Plumbing. United by Exceptional Service®, the ARS / Rescue Rooter Network serves both residential and light commercial customers by providing heating, cooling, indoor air quality, plumbing, drain cleaning, sewer line, radiant barrier, insulation and ventilation services. Each location has a knowledgeable team of trained specialists, who have undergone rigorous drug testing and criminal background checks. Providing exceptional service and ensuring the highest standards of quality, ARS has the experience to do any job right – the first time, with all work fully guaranteed.


News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

American Residential Services (ARS), a Memphis, Tenn. based, privately-held national provider of air conditioning, heating and plumbing services, is pleased to announce that seven of its network providers have been named recipients of the 2017 Best of HomeAdvisor Award. This award honors top-notch professionals who provide extraordinary quality, service and value in the home improvement and maintenance industries. The following seven network providers won the award: ARS has been part of HomeAdvisor’s network since 2004. “As a part of our mission, ARS is committed to delivering an unparalleled customer experience,” says Chris Mellon, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer of ARS. “We are proud of our service providers that received this recognition from their customers.” “Millions of homeowners across the nation trust HomeAdvisor to help them find a dependable, qualified professional for their home improvement projects,” said HomeAdvisor’s President Craig Smith. “Between outstanding work practices, excellent customer service and overall value, the service providers that receive our 'Best of' award consistently demonstrate this sense of quality.” Award recipients were selected based on positive reviews earned in quality of work practices, customer service and value. To qualify, they must have a minimum rating of four based on a scale of one to five, be active members in good standing and have at least three verified reviews submitted within the last six months. Prior to joining the HomeAdvisor network, all service providers are subject to a comprehensive screening. Upon successfully passing the screening, professionals are given a HomeAdvisor seal of approval to display to their customers. HomeAdvisor’s digital home services marketplace connects millions of homeowners with prescreened home improvement professionals, and provides homeowners with tools and resources for home repair, maintenance and improvement projects. Customers can view average project costs using True Cost Guide, and instantly book appointments online with HomeAdvisor’s award-winning app, and through Smart Home devices. For more information about HomeAdvisor, visit HomeAdvisor.com. ABOUT AMERICAN RESIDENTIAL SERVICES: Based in Memphis, Tenn., privately-owned ARS operates a network of more than 70 locally-managed service centers in 23 states, with approximately 6,500 employees. The ARS network features industry-leading brands including, A.J. Perri, Aksarben ARS, Allgood, Andy’s Statewide, ARS, Aspen Air Conditioning, Atlas Trillo, Beutler, Blue Dot, Brothers, Columbus Worthington Air, Comfort Heating & Air, Conway Services, Efficient Attic Systems (EAS), Florida Home Air Conditioning, Green Star Home Services, McCarthy Services, Rescue Rooter/ Proserv, Rescue Rooter, RighTime Home Services, RS Andrews, The Irish Plumber, Unique Services, "Will" Fix It, and Yes! Air Conditioning and Plumbing. United by Exceptional Service®, the ARS / Rescue Rooter Network serves both residential and light commercial customers by providing heating, cooling, indoor air quality, plumbing, drain cleaning, sewer line, radiant barrier, insulation and ventilation services. Each location has a knowledgeable team of trained specialists, who have undergone rigorous drug testing and criminal background checks. Providing exceptional service and ensuring the highest standards of quality, ARS has the experience to do any job right – the first time, with all work fully guaranteed.

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