Judges have praised the quality of entries to the global Brucellosis Vaccine Prize competition, and awarded two final Phase 1 payments – taking the total prize allocation to US $1million.
University of Georgia and China Agricultural University have each been awarded US $100,000 in the US $30m AgResults competition, which aims to incentivise the development of a vaccine for Brucella melitensis in small ruminants across the developing world.
The universities join eight previous winners, comprising biotechnological, academic, governmental and pharmaceutical organisations from around the world. Peter Jeffries, GALVmed CEO says that the standard of entries received in the competition – the first of its kind globally – has exceeded all expectations:
“We received a far higher number of viable submissions than had been anticipated, and as such have been able to award the maximum available number of financial rewards. In addition, our judging panel has assessed a further ten applicants as meeting the criteria to progress to the second phase of the competition. They will join our ten Milestone 1 prize-winning organisations in this proof-of-principle stage.
“We have been overwhelmed at the quality of proposed solutions, and believe they represent a vital first step on the journey to a world-first vaccine with the potential to transform lives across developing nations.”
Commenting on their award, Professor Qingming Wu of the Key Laboratory of Animal Epidemiology and Zoonosis of the Ministry of Agriculture, China Agricultural University in Beijing, said:
“We are honoured that our development was recognised by the prestigious organisations AgResults and GALVmed. This will give us extra motivation and more possibility to distribute our solution across the developing world in order to fight against animal and human brucellosis.”
Eric Lafontaine, Professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Georgia commented:
"Our team at the University of Georgia is honoured to have been selected for a Phase 1 Prize. Brucellosis is the most common zoonotic disease in the world and causes significant public health burden as well as great economic loss in the food animal production sector. We are excited to introduce a new vaccine platform to the field to deliver high value Brucella target antigens that provide robust, long-lasting, cross-species, and complete immunity against pathogenic Brucella bacteria.”
For organisations accepted into Phase 2, the primary focus will be to demonstrate proof of principles of efficacy and safety, and establish a scaled production process, together with other deliverables, to be considered for one of four US $1m Milestone 2 prizes. Beyond this, a Grand Prize of US $20m is available for the first registered vaccine meeting the Minimum Viable Product requirements.
For any organisations wishing to collaborate within the fields of vaccine research & development, commercialisation and manufacture, an open access partner portal is available online.
Brucellosis remains endemic across much of the developing world and impacts the majority of the 600 million people in those regions whose livelihoods depend on livestock. For example, the annual impact to smallholder farmers in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated at US $500 million per year.
The Brucellosis Vaccine Prize competition is designed, funded, and managed by AgResults, a collaborative initiative between the governments of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Implemented by the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed), it involves three phases and can run for up to 10 years.
Although all ten Milestone 1 prizes have now been awarded, the competition is still open to new applications from animal health innovators across industry and academia via the competition website www.brucellosisvaccine.org. Full details and competition rules are also available on the website.
AgResults is a $122 million collaborative initiative between the governments of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to incentivise and reward high-impact agricultural innovations that promote global food security, health, and nutrition and benefit smallholder farmers. The initiative is currently implementing six pilots in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia and the Brucellosis Vaccine Development Prize. Visit http://agresults.org/
GALVmed, through its partners, makes livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics accessible and available to the millions of smallholder livestock and poultry keepers in developing countries for whom livestock is a lifeline. The international not-for-profit company harnesses the best available expertise and capabilities to develop vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for neglected livestock diseases impacting smallholders in Africa and South Asia. GALVmed is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Government. For more information, please visit www.galvmed.org