Germ-free eggs could revolutionise vaccine production

09-10-2006 | |
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 vaccine market.

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 infection breakdowns.
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.
“The recent threat of…avian influenza 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,” said Moran.