Forbes Medi-Tech Inc. (Nasdaq:FMTI; TSE:FMI.) is pleased to announce the first consumer product test market launches in Australia and the United States containing its phytosterol-based cholesterol-lowering ingredient, Phytrol(TM), branded as Reducol(TM).

"The two test launches represent the first third-party consumer products to contain Phytrol(TM) as an added ingredient, signifying an important step in the evolution and growth of the Company's functional food business sector," says Tazdin Esmail, President and Chief Executive Officer of Forbes Medi-Tech.

Uncle Tobys(TM), a brand of breakfast cereal and cereal bars in Australia, has recently launched an Uncle Tobys(TM) Logicol(TM) cereal bar containing Reducol(TM) as an active cholesterol-lowering ingredient. The Logicol(TM) cereal bar label indicates the product contains "plant-derived ingredients that lower cholesterol absorption."

Pacific Foods of Oregon, a leading manufacturer of non-dairy nutritional products, recently launched its Heart Health line of soy beverages containing Phytrol(TM). Pacific Foods' products are available nationwide in natural foods' stores and in the health foods' section of major supermarkets.

"We anticipate further product introductions in several food categories during the next twelve months in both North America and major international markets," said Esmail.

Based on the market introductions currently planned, initial Phytrol(TM) revenue projections for Forbes are expected to be in the region of US$10 - 12 million for fiscal 2001. Revenue projections will be updated throughout the year as additional product launches are initiated.

Phytrol(TM) is a proprietary, phytosterol-based cholesterol-lowering compound exclusively licensed on a worldwide basis to Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. for use as a functional food ingredient, dietary supplement and inclusion in certain over-the-counter products.

Unlike other cholesterol-lowering ingredients that are limited to oil-based foods, Phytrol(TM) can be incorporated into a wide variety of food products compatible with individual tastes and a healthy diet. The market for food and beverages containing added ingredients to improve health or prevent disease, dubbed nutraceuticals or functional foods, is forecast to reach US $83 billion worldwide by 2005 according to the Nutrition Business Journal.

Earlier in the year, Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. and The Quaker Oats Company entered into a joint venture to form the Altus Food Company, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, to develop and market a branded line of functional foods in the U.S., Canada and Mexico scheduled for launch by mid-2001.

Phytrol(TM) Background Information

Phytosterols, also known as sterols, are lipid-like compounds found in plants, fruits and vegetables. Most people consume 200 - 300 mg of phytosterols per day as part of a normal healthy diet. The molecular structure of phytosterols is similar to that of dietary cholesterol, which is absorbed by the intestine and transported through the bloodstream. Because of their structural similarity to cholesterol, phytosterols compete with dietary and endogenously secreted cholesterol for absorption. However, diet alone does not normally provide sufficient phytosterols to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Consumption of an additional 1-2 grams of phytosterols such as Phytrol(TM) on a daily basis helps block cholesterol absorption in the intestine and lowers cholesterol levels significantly. Phytrol(TM) has been clinically shown to reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels by approximately 24 per cent in conjunction with a healthy diet. Of this 24 per cent reduction in LDL cholesterol, approximately nine per cent can be attributed to a healthy diet.

Forbes Medi-Tech Inc. is dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products derived from nature. By extracting plant sterols from pulping by-products, Forbes is developing cholesterol-lowering agents to be used both as functional food ingredients and pharmaceutical therapeutics in the battle against heart disease. Forbes is also developing innovative fermentation technology that converts plant sterols into pharmaceutical fine chemicals, essential in the production of various pharmaceutical steroids such as contraceptive agents and anti-inflammatories. Phytrol(TM) and CardioRex(TM) are trademarks of Forbes Medi-Tech Inc.

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