Merck Animal Health this week announced that its recent acquisition, Harrisvaccines, has been granted licensure of its Prescription Product, RNA Particle (RP) vaccine platform from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This first-of-its-kind USDA license approves the company’s innovative production platform and allows for the manufacturing of herd-specific, custom vaccines prescribed by a licensed veterinarian.
“This platform license validates a decade of work – and the technology – that has enabled us to respond so quickly to emerging diseases,” said Jodi French, Regulatory Affairs, Merck Animal Health. “It also enables our team to provide customized solutions to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers.”
The RP technology platform is used to make vaccines for swine, bovine, equine, avian, companion animal and farmed aquaculture diseases. Pathogens are collected from a farm and specific genes are sequenced and synthetically inserted into the platform creating RNA particles, making safe, potent vaccines able to provide herd-specific protection. This system was instrumental in producing the first conditionally licensed vaccine to help control Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv), a deadly virus that has killed more than eight million piglets since suddenly emerging in the United States in 2013. It also was utilized to produce a conditionally licensed vaccine against H5 Avian Influenza, which was subsequently awarded a USDA Stockpile in October 2015.
“Merck Animal Health has a long-standing history of developing innovative, high-quality vaccines,” said Rick Sibbel, D.V.M., Executive Director, Food Animal Technical Services, Merck Animal Health. “Bringing on board this technology and production platform serves to further support and enhance our ongoing commitment to the science of healthier animals.”