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Elanco’s new direction: Vaccine innovation centre

Animal health company Elanco opened a new Vaccines Innovation Center last week in Indiana, USA, emphasising the company’s new direction.

The Greenfield, Indiana-based animal health company, a division of Eli Lilly and Company, opened the new 4,500 m2 vaccines centre last week with several presentations on the new site.

Elanco opened a new Vaccines Innovation Center
Elanco's new Vaccines Innovation Center, Indiana, USA. Photo: Elanco

Safeguarding solutions for the future

The emphasis on vaccination and alternatives to antibiotics is driven by Elanco's desire to protect antibiotics from becoming obsolete by over-usage. By being able to support customers to make prudent choices and offer viable alternatives, the company, known for e.g. its growth promoting product Paylean (based on ractopamine hydrochloride), thus hopes to be able to safeguard its antibiotic solutions also on the longer term. All was laid out in an eight-point antibiotic stewardship plan, introduced in June 2015.

In a press release, Jeff Simmons, the company's president, added, "The Vaccines Innovation Center underscores our commitment to invest in innovation, bringing new antibiotic alternatives to market. We've pledged at least two-thirds of our food animal research budget to development projects that address diseases where there are few, or no, alternatives to shared-class antibiotics. We are truly going where the unmet need is, where our customers and the animals they care for need the most help."

Encouraging scientific interaction

In the same press release, the company explained that "half of the space comprises an open concept collaboration environment intentionally designed to encourage scientific interaction. The remaining floor area houses an integrated laboratory space equipped with technology in the fields of immunology, molecular biology and microbiology."

The company points to the 'master seed suite' as one of the key features to watch. "Master seeds are the critical starting materials for any vaccine, and must be prepared with great stringency." The centre's suite comprises 3 distinct, access restricted zones with dedicated air handling and single pass personnel flow to optimise biosecurity, the press release reads. "Seeds laid down in this suite will provide the critical starting materials for production of vaccines throughout Elanco's global manufacturing network."

Salmonella and bovine respiratory disease

The scientists working within the labs will tackle several important fields of research, one of which is finding alternatives to antibiotics used in food animals. Two near-term projects involve exploring vaccines for salmonella and bovine respiratory disease,

Beyond antibiotic alternatives, the center will also house research into several companion animal vaccines, including the exploration of more 'patient friendly' delivery technologies, which could make annual vaccinations easier for both the pets and the veterinarians who care for them.

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