OARDC launches animal vaccine company

Published on: May 7, 2013

Patented technology developed at The Ohio State University's Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center (OARDC) has led to the creation of a startup company for the production of diagnostic tools and vaccines to combat poultry and livestock diseases.

LARAD Inc. — Leadership for Advanced Responses to Animal Diseases — was created to develop and commercialize research conducted by OARDC Food Animal Health Research Program professor Daral Jackwood, who serves as company founder and scientific adviser.

According to Jackwood, the company is using molecular biology methods to develop virus-like-particle (VLP) technology for new vaccines and diagnostics that will benefit the food animal industry.

The company will initially focus on production of VLPs for infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV), a highly contagious immunosuppressive disease that affects poultry worldwide.

"Using the unique VLPs created in our lab through genetic engineering, we have produced and validated a universal vaccine that will protect against multiple strains of IBDV," Jackwood said. "Another advantage of this vaccine is that it is flexible, meaning that if virus mutations take place, new antigens can be introduced to keep pace with those changes.

"Currently, there are no commercially available VLP vaccines for IBDV or any other poultry disease, and there are no universal vaccines of any kind available in the market for prevention of IBDV," he said.

The company also plans to produce VLPs as reagents for use in IBDV diagnostic kits, Jackwood said, noting that the VLP reagents are of higher quality and are less expensive than ones presently used in the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits made by diagnostic companies.

In the future, LARAD plans to expand its portfolio to include VLP vaccines and diagnostic reagents for other diseases, including viral diseases of swine, cattle, horses, fish, cats and dogs, Jackwood said.

LARAD has named Ken Rudd as chief executive officer. Rudd has more than 40 years of experience in the animal biologics industry, including companies such as Merial, Select Labs and Salsbury Laboratories.

The company is currently looking for seed funds to establish a physical laboratory at OARDC's BioHio Research Park, as well as investors such as major biologics and diagnostics companies.