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Vaccine licensing deal agreed to combat M. gallisepticum

Hopes of a vaccine breakthrough against Mycoplasma gallisepticum, which causes severe injury in poultry, have been boosted by a two-year million dollar licensing deal.

The deal has been struck between ECO Animal Health Group and the University of Georgia, with ECO paying just over $1m in phased quarterly instalments to “license research related innovations” in the development of a vaccine.

Photo: Bart Nijs
Photo: Bart Nijs

Mycoplasma gallisepticum causes chronic respiratory disease in chickens and is responsible for infectious sinusitis in turkeys.

ECO Animal Health chairman Peter Lawrence said he was delighted by the deal with the University of Georgia’s Poultry Diagnostic and Research Centre, which is part of its veterinary medicine college: “Mycoplasma-related illnesses in poultry can be financially devastating to commercial poultry producers with global losses estimated at more than £500m.

“We are delighted to have entered into this collaboration and expect that further innovative developments will follow.”

Professor Naola Ferguson-Noel, a researcher in the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Centre, said vaccinations could be a very effective option: “Although Mycoplasma control programmes are often based on biosecurity, early detection, quarantine and elimination of positive flocks, vaccination can be a very effective option in some circumstances.

“I do think a vaccine is in reach,” she added.

A joint steering committee will meet monthly to review data, monitor progress and reach go/no-go decisions.