XstalBio Ltd, a leading biologic formulation and drug-delivery company, has announced it has commenced work on an €9.3M EU Funded Horizon 2020 project to develop vaccines that protect cattle, sheep and poultry, against infection by parasites. The 4 year "PARAGONE" collaboration involves 17 partners from Europe, Uruguay and China and will aim to move several candidate vaccines from the laboratory into practical field trials. XstalBio, as the formulation and delivery partner will utilise its proprietary technology to bind antigens and immunostimulants together into vaccine microparticles that function as "inorganic pathogens", with the aim of improving delivery and obtaining better, more targeted, protection against parasite infections. The vaccine microparticle technology that underpins this project is covered by the recently issued US Patent US8697133 "Slow Release Compositions". XstalBio microparticle formulations are thermally stable so any vaccines produced will be suitable for use in developing countries where retention of the cold-chain is challenging.
Vaccine approaches are urgently being sought worldwide because livestock parasites, such as helminths, are becoming increasingly resistant to conventional drugs and if not controlled can significantly compromise the health of animals and result in major losses in productivity. Vaccines offer a safe and sustainable solution that will also addresses consumer concerns over drug residues in the food chain. The PARAGONE project has been coordinated by the Moredun Research Institute based in Scotland and brings together most of the major research groups in Europe working on parasite vaccines.
XstalBio CEO, Dr. Marie Claire Parker commented that "We are very pleased that XstalBio was chosen as the vaccine formulation partner in this world-leading consortium and look forward to our microparticle delivery technology making an important contribution to the success of the project. Control of parasites is a global problem affecting human as well as animal health and this development project will lead to other important applications of our vaccine technology."