Germ-free eggs could revolutionise vaccine production
An Irish businessman says he has the technology to
create the world's first germ-free eggs, which could revolutionise the world's
Leonard Moran is seeking €100 million in fundraising to mass-produce his
eggs for vaccines.
Vaccines are currently grown in chicken eggs, with pharmaceutical companies
using Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) eggs. These eggs are relatively clean but can
still sometimes be contaminated with faecal bacteria and are subject to frequent
Leonard Moran's new company, Ovagen International, told investors at a
roadshow that it intends to produce 100 million eggs from germ-free chickens
annually. At the firm's estimated price of €6 per egg, the company's annual
turnover could reach more than €600 million within three years.
SPF eggs sell at about €3.50 each. The current worldwide market for SPF
eggs is approximately $250 million.
Under its business plan Ovagen anticipates employing up to 400 people in
Ireland, the US and possibly India over the next several years. A stock market
flotation would follow.
â€œThe recent threat ofâ€¦avian
has highlighted the importance of developing a germ-free egg. If
there are no chickens, there are no eggs, and if there are no eggs, there will
be no vaccines,â€ said Moran.
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