An Arkansas vaccine developer has secured a second licensing deal with manufacturer Kemin Biologics to help develop a product for the poultry industry.
Pacific GeneTech LLC recently agreed to let Kemin produce a poultry vaccine for the parasite eimeria, which causes coccidiosis, a disease that can affect animals and humans.
The two firms have an agreement already for Pacific GeneTech's salmonella vaccine. The company's latest oral vaccine for eimeria is marketed as the only product of its kind.
"With its proven commitment to new and sustainable technologies for food security and safety, Kemin was the ideal partner," Pacific GeneTech chief executive Tim Collard said in a statement. "We are thrilled to be working side-by-side with them to bring innovative solutions to market that are needed in the animal health industry."
Former Gov. Jim Guy Tucker founded Pacific GeneTech in 2009 with Louis Bowen, executive chairman and director of finance. The idea was to further develop vaccine technology from the University of Arkansas' poultry science department for commercial use.
It wasn't until this spring that Kemin first became interested in Pacific GeneTech's salmonella vaccine technology and agreed to scale and distribute it for global markets. Kemin entered a second deal to produce an eimeria vaccine last month. It plans to first take the vaccine to the European Union and expand to Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
"We're very happy to see that it's finally reached the point that the vaccines are being utilized," Tucker said. His wife, Betty Allen Tucker, is also on the Pacific GeneTech board of directors.
Pacific GeneTech's vaccine technology stems from a proprietary platform developed by the University of Arkansas in collaboration with other U.S. universities and support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A Kemin spokesman said the vaccines meet underserved needs in the animal health and food safety sector, using a patented process that helps create a stronger immune response. They will offer a safe alternative to the use of antibiotics and disease-inducing live vaccines, spokesman Lauren Burt said.
Coccidiosis causes damage to the host's intestinal tract and is a constant health problem in the poultry industry costing billions of dollars in losses each year, research shows. It can result in production loss, illness or death.
The driving goal of Pacific GeneTech is to develop vaccines with a focus on diseases that occur in humans and food animals, such as E. coli and salmonella. The idea being that if hogs, poultry and cattle are treated with the proper vaccines the likelihood of the diseases reaching humans is limited, Tucker said.
If the technology is safe for animals, he said that the company is that much closer to developing similar vaccines for humans.
Kemin did not disclose when the vaccine will be available, but Burt assured that "the development work is underway and it's progressing as planned."
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