Israeli biotech company, TransAlgae, which aims to shake up vaccinations in the aquaculture and animal health sectors, has signed an exclusive agreement with French company, Virbac, to develop its microalgae-based oral delivery vaccine technology, which eliminates unnecessary labour and loss of animal life due to stress, while reducing the cost and time consumption associated with today’s injectable vaccines.
Founded more than 50 years ago, Virbac is the sixth-largest animal health company worldwide, with 33 subsidiaries and a presence in more than 100 countries. Virbac continues to innovate and deliver a practical range of products and services to diagnose, prevent and treat the majority of pathologies, all while improving the quality of life for animals.
The two companies have signed an exclusive collaboration agreement to develop a vaccine based on TransAlgae’s break-through technology and are engaged together in a long-term business relationship.
“This agreement is a vote of confidence in the oral delivery technology of TransAlgae by one of the global leaders in the veterinary sector and will surely pave the road for TransAlgae technology recognition and use for the benefit of the animal cultivation industry,” said Maor Sasson, CEO, TransAlgae.
Aquaculture vaccine development
To date, effective and efficient oral delivery in animal health has been one of the veterinary sector’s biggest challenges. TransAlgae’s technology aims to solve this challenge by utilising microalgae for two important purposes: A production site for the transferred sequence; and a delivery vehicle for the transcripted expressed molecule.
The microalgae are produced without any antibiotics and in fermenters under a controlled environment enabling rapid, low-cost production that can be practiced anywhere on the globe. The collaboration agreement is expected to deliver revolutionary change to the world of vaccination by enabling an effective, industrialised vaccination method.
Microalgae-based oral delivery vaccine technology
Founded in 2008, TransAlgae claims to have developed a breakthrough technology, using genetically engineered algae as the vehicle to orally deliver therapeutic drugs such as vaccines and insecticides in their intact and functional form for human pharma, animal health and crop protection.
In animal health, TransAlgae’s oral delivery technology replaces the need to use antibiotics and the need for vaccination by injections which are time-consuming and expensive. Its drug delivery has been demonstrated on fish, crustaceans, poultry and mice (as a model for mammals).
Proof of concept trials using one of its oral vaccine expressing algal lines have been successful. The vaccine expressing algal powder, mixed with animal feed, evoked a specific titer of antibodies towards the viral agent in the orally vaccinated animals, in a manner similar to the injected vaccine, according to the company. In addition, orally vaccinated animals demonstrated significant protective immunity and survival rate.
Meanwhile TransAlgae’s crop protection application replaces the need for toxic chemical spraying to protect crops, according to the company.