- Date 24 Jun 2014
- Sectors Life Sciences
New vaccine formulations to combat two major diseases of livestock in the developing world are to be pursued through a partnership between livestock medicines charity, GALVmed and the biotechnology company, Arecor Limited.
Cambridge-based Arecor, which specialises in the discovery and development of advanced liquid formulations of biologics, is set to collaborate with the not-for-profit Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) whose aim is to make livestock health products accessible to small-scale farmers in the developing world.
Work will begin exploring the potential for liquid formulations of vaccines to be produced to protect against East Coast fever (ECF), a tick-borne disease which is the single biggest killer of cattle in East Africa and parts of Central Africa, and against Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), also known as ‘goat plague’, a viral disease of goats and sheep which causes the deaths of millions of animals in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
A highly effective first generation vaccine against ECF exists but it must be stored in liquid nitrogen until needed. This process causes losses of approximately 30% of the product and requires administration within a matter of hours after dilution takes place. An improved form of the vaccine could reduce the losses, potentially making the vaccine more affordable to livestock keepers. The scope to create a product in smaller pack/dose sizes would also benefit small-scale livestock keepers.
For PPR, the initial target will be to investigate the possibility of creating a liquid formulation of the vaccine. The current vaccine is freeze-dried and its manufacture requires expensive equipment, the operation of which calls for highly specialist knowledge. Removing the freeze-drying requirement is likely to be attractive to smaller manufacturers in developing countries and could lead to sustainable supply of a product that is more accessible to small-scale livestock keepers in the developing world.
GALVmed’s Interim R&D Director, Dr Danny Goovaerts commented
Arecor has considerable expertise in formulations and stabilisers and we are keen to explore whether their knowledge can be applied to producing liquid formulations of products to help tackle the huge challenges that PPR & ECF present to livestock keepers in the developing world. Around 900 million people rely on their livestock for their daily needs and it is vital that vaccines, medicines and diagnostics are as accessible and affordable as possible to people living in poverty.
Arecor’s CEO, Tom Saylor said
We are delighted to be involved in a collaboration that supports GALVmed’s charitable mission in developing countries, while giving Arecor the opportunity to extend the scope of its stablisation platform in challenging new applications. Optimising vaccines for thermostability to reduce the cold chain burden has always been a key focus for us and clearly has significant impact for targeted ECF and PPR vaccines.
Notes to the Editor
About GALVmed (the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines)
Around 900 million people living in poverty rely on their livestock for daily needs. When disease strikes, the loss of livestock or reduced production impacts food security and nutrition, the provision of education, basic healthcare and limits choice and opportunity. GALVmed is a not-for-profit Livestock health Product development & adoption Partnership organisation. It is working with and through partners to make livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics accessible to the millions for whom livestock is a lifeline.
Arecor is a pioneer in the stabilisation of biologic molecules, a key challenge in the development of many therapeutic proteins, vaccines and diagnostics. Many proteins, peptides or vaccines are too unstable in liquid form to develop ready-to-use drugs, or are unstable at high concentrations. Arecor has developed a set of unique technologies to address these problems with the potential to revolutionise the self-administration of therapeutic medicines which can be used by patients. It has partnered with the world’s leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies to enhance the commercial value and practical utility of many different types of therapeutic proteins, peptides and vaccines.