By Joseph Harvey
US vaccine adjuvants expert VaxLiant has made its debut sales, just over one year since it was formed.
The virtual company was formed as a joint venture between biologics development firm Benchmark Biolabs and animal health products distributor AgriLabs. The venture specializes in developing ready-to-use and custom vaccine adjuvants for the animal health market.
Josh Johnson, a director at Benchmark Biolabs, told Animal Pharm: "Over one year since the joint venture launched in April 2013 we have R&D projects in nearly every species. Our plan was to put research quantities of our adjuvant in the hands of researchers and producers. Feedback has been positive as the ENABL platform finds its way into the pipelines of multinational vaccine developers, and smaller companies use our customizable Biomize adjuvants to quickly improve the consistency and effectiveness of autogenous vaccines."
The VaxLiant management team had been working with the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine even before the firm was launched.
This vaccine is now licenced and, according to Dr Luis Rodriguez, USDA Agricultural Research Service research leader, it is "one of the most significant developments in FMD vaccines in 50 years."
VaxLiant's ENABL system is an adjuvant production platform which, when combined with DNA technology, can be applied to economically-damaging transboundary diseases, such as avian influenza, FMD and African swine fever.
The ENABL technology does not use live-virus or animal-origin material. This means vaccines can be developed and manufactured more safely on the US mainland.
"We are ahead of schedule," explained Mr Johnson. He said the joint venture is currently in negotiations with unnamed partners to develop avian flu vaccines using the ENABL platform. Additionally, six ENABL adjuvants have been approved by the USDA.
In its second year of existence, VaxLiant aims to finalize some of the negotiations it is currently pursuing relating to new applications for the ENABL platform.
Speaking to Animal Pharm at the BIO 2014 conference in San Diego last month, Mr Johnson said 2014 may also see some more ENABL-generated vaccines being licenced by the USDA.
"We have benefitted from the reputation of both parent companies," he said. "Benchmark has given VaxLiant R&D expertise and AgriLabs has provided access to extensive industry and distribution channels."
"We have been aggressive but realistic with our growth plan," Mr Johnson concluded.
Posted with permission of Animal Pharm, Informa Agra, Christchurch Court, 10-15 Newgate St., London, UK EC1A 7AZ,
+44 (0)20 7017 7500, www.animalpharmnews.com