Salmonella continues to be one of the most common causes of bacterial foodborne infections in the United States. A major source of Salmonella is food animals such as swine, poultry and cattle that are frequently asymptomatic carriers of the human foodborne pathogen.
These production animals that shed Salmonella expose uninfected animals to the microorganism and contaminate processing plants, thereby introducing Salmonella-tainted products into the food supply. Furthermore, manure from Salmonella-shedding animals used as a soil fertilizer can enter nearby water sources and contaminate edible crops that may not be cooked prior to consumption.
With the fundamental goal of reducing Salmonella in food animals to protect animal health and enhance food safety, the transferred technology developed by the USDA Agricultural Service (USDA ARS) is a live, attenuated Salmonella vaccine that reduces clinical disease, host colonization, and fecal shedding caused by diverse Salmonella serotypes in food-producing animals.
Furthermore, the vaccine has dual benefits across animal species: It protects animals from Salmonella serotypes that cause clinical infections and reduces transmission of Salmonella serotypes that cause human foodborne disease.
The design and construction of the live, attenuated Salmonella vaccine incorporates several genetic mutations in the bacterial genome that induces immune cross-protection against multiple Salmonella serotypes while simultaneously permitting Salmonella surveillance programs on the farm. Furthermore, the vaccine has dual benefits across animal species: It protects animals from Salmonella serotypes that cause clinical infections and reduces transmission of Salmonella serotypes that cause human foodborne disease.
In June 2016, Dr. Shawn Bearson of USDA ARS gave a research presentation describing the Salmonella vaccine technology at the International Symposium on Salmonella and Salmonellosis. Attending the symposium was a representative from Huvepharma, Inc., who approached Dr. Bearson to indicate that the pharmaceutical company would be interested in discussing the vaccine technology. Huvepharma, Inc., is a global pharmaceutical company with a focus on developing, manufacturing, and marketing human and animal health products. Correspondence between Huvepharma representatives and Dr. Bearson resulted in the signing of a nondisclosure agreement to allow further consideration of a partnership.
Presently, a patent application has been filed on the invention in the U.S. and European Union. Huvepharma submitted a license application for the technology, and ARS published a notice of intent to grant an exclusive license to Huvepharma in the Federal Register. The license is expected to be executed in the next few months.