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International competition seeks breakthrough solutions for Brucellosis

17 September 2018

Historic evidence of Brucellosis and its continued threat to livestock in the developing world has prompted the US $30m Brucellosis Vaccine Prize competition

The recent discovery in an Egyptian tomb of a 3,000-year-old cheese contaminated with Brucella melitensis provided historic evidence of a disease still endemic across much of the developing world. It is a challenge that the US $30m Brucellosis Vaccine Prize competition is seeking to address.

Open to animal health innovators across industry and academia, the global competition seeks to incentivise the development of a new vaccine for use against Brucella melitensis. And as the competition progresses through its second phase, organisers are calling on commercial and academic organisations to join forces in order to work towards the four available Milestone 2 prizes of US $1m.

The second phase of the competition requires applicants to satisfy specific criteria regarding proof of principle of safety and efficacy, and to demonstrate progress on the development of a scaled-up production process for commercial manufacture of a new Brucella melitensis vaccine. It is this combination of technical expertise and technological facilities that may necessitate collaboration between organisations, explains GALVmed’s CEO Peter Jeffries:

“An academic institution may, for example, have devised a novel approach to solving the issues associated with current vaccines – but may not have the ability to develop, manufacture and commercialise a new product. On the other hand, a commercial organisation may require access to specialist expertise or facilities in order to support development of their ideas. Individually, these two organisations may not reach the requirements for a Milestone 2 prize – but together, they could be a stronger contender.”

To help facilitate collaboration across the fields of registration, manufacture, R&D and commercialisation, a partner portal has been made available at www.brucellosisvaccine.org/partners. The open-access portal enables organisations to advertise their expertise and capabilities, or to seek relevant alliances.

The online portal aims to connect those groups involved in innovation, with those that have the technology in place to make those ideas a reality. “We know from the quality of entries received so far that the level of innovation is high – and this portal has the power to expedite the journey from initial idea to proof-of-concept, for both academic and commercial organisations,” commented Gwynneth Clay, Senior Project Manager, Brucellosis Vaccine Initiative.

The first phase of the competition saw 20 organisations progress through to the second phase, with ten of those winning prizes.

Brucellosis remains endemic across much of the developing world and impacts the majority of the 600 million people in those regions whose livelihoods depend on livestock. For example, the annual impact to smallholder farmers in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated at US $500 million per year.

The Brucellosis Vaccine Prize competition is designed, funded, and managed by AgResults, a collaborative initiative between the governments of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Implemented by the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed), it involves three phases and can run for up to 10 years.

The competition remains open to new applications from animal health innovators across industry and academia via the competition website www.brucellosisvaccine.org. Full details and competition rules are also available on the website.



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