November 4, 2003
Global Success of Live Vaccine for Chicken; Upcoming Vaccines for Pigs, Cattle
A profitable product made in Australia from Australian research that has seeped into world markets without a multinational partner is certainly a rare case in the biotechnology industry.
With its live vaccines for farm chickens, Bioproperties has become a leading global player in a niche market. Its live vaccines are among a new wave of products aimed at replacing antibiotics following concern about their use in animals and their effect on human immunity.
The private company is the main supplier of live vaccine for chickens in the Australian market and exports half its output.
Production and sale of its first live vaccine for chickens took place in 1990 and has a range of upcoming vaccines in development for pigs and cattle.
Dr Tinworth said production of live vaccines was cheaper and more efficient as only a 10th of the organism was needed. As well, live vaccines had proved more effective against a wider range of organisms.
"It is very much an art form to produce live bacterial vaccines," he said. "The hard slog is to get it from the test tube to the market."
Bioproperties has licensed several poultry vaccines to Merial and Fort Dodge Animal Health, two of a handful of global animal health companies. The chicken vaccine market is worth more than $700 million.
Some antibiotics used in animal health were banned in Europe in the early 1990s and more recently in Australia. Bioproperties¡¯ biggest export market is Japan.
Bioproperties has specialised in fighting the bacteria mycoplasma, against which antibiotics have become increasingly resistant.