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ECO Animal Health & Ghent University: Exclusive worldwide development and licencing deal for poultry vaccine

8 March 2019, at 12:00a.m.

GLOBAL - Resulting from an introduction through IN-PART’s online matchmaking platform for university-industry collaboration, ECO Animal Health (ECO) have signed a worldwide exclusive development and licencing deal with Ghent University.

This deal allows ECO to further develop, register and commercialise a Clostridium perfringens vaccine for poultry based on antigens co-developed by Professor Filip Van Immerseel (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University) and Prof. Rick Titball (College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter).

This new collaboration comes at a time of global concern for the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Clostridium perfringens is a bacterium that normally inhabits the gastrointestinal system of chickens, but when predisposing triggers are present, specific strains can cause necrotic enteritis with major consequences for bird health and growth.

It’s hoped that this new collaboration between ECO Animal Health and Ghent University could lead to a preventative vaccine for C. perfringens that will significantly reduce yield losses and provide an additional sustainable tool for the management of necrotic enteritis.

Steve Wilson, Global Project Leader in Biologics at ECO, was introduced to the PROVAXS team at Ghent University through IN-PART’s matchmaking platform in the summer of 2018. Steve explained how the collaboration developed:

“The initial conversation, following the signature of a CDA, was very much technically focused, gathering as much information about the technology and possible benefits from it. This, combined with company technical and commercial reviews, led to the drafting of term sheets and latterly the R&D agreement to further validate the technology prior to licensure.”

Elaborating on the development and licensing deal with Ghent University, Steve outlined that:

“ECO Animal Health has entered into an R&D agreement to conduct further work prior to licence option, and during the coming months we will conduct some additional studies to further validate the technology as a vaccine formulation. The IN-PART introduction was invaluable as ECO Animal Health may not have been aware of the technology Ghent was offering without it.”

Professor Van Immerseel, from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Ghent University said:

“We look forward to collaborating with ECO Animal Health on the development of this candidate vaccine into a practical tool for the prevention of necrotic enteritis thereby further supporting the global poultry industry in adopting a sustainable approach to the management of this disease.”

Peter Lawrence, the Non-Executive Chairman of ECO Animal Health commented:

“We are delighted to have entered into this collaboration with Ghent University. Necrotic enteritis can result in a significant reduction in body weight and increase in feed conversion rate when compared with healthy broilers.”

Editor at The Poultry Site

Ryan worked in conservation from 2007-2017, during which time he operated a rainbow trout hatchery in Canada for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. As editor of The Poultry Site, he now writes about challenges and opportunities in the global poultry industry and agri-food chain.

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