June 13, 2011

Ag-West Bio invests in vaccine development company Prevtec Microbia West Canada

A vaccine that will make life easier for hog producers, and provide an alternative to antibiotics for the industry is making its way to commercialization, thanks to the innovation of a new Saskatchewan company, Prevtec Microbia West Canada Inc. A $300,000 investment from Ag-West Bio’s Commercialization Fund will help them fulfill their goal.

The money will be used by the company to advance the development of its latest vaccine technology, an oral swine vaccine to prevent post-weaning diarrhea and edema, diseases caused by two strains of E.coli.

Ag-West Bio investments are targeted at companies with promising technology and a clearly identified pathway for getting the technology to market. Brad Bly, Director of Commercialization for Ag-West Bio, says Prevtec fits this description.

Prevtec’s technology is an avirulent live combine vaccine that can combat both E. coli associated diarrhea and edema. Research demonstrates the vaccine is effective in preventing both these diseases, which will allow swine producers to save time and money.

The technology also represents an alternative to antibiotics in swine production, an important factor since the European Union has banned the use of antibiotics as growth promoters and there is a movement in the U.S. market regarding a similar ban.

“What makes Prevtec’s technology exciting is its innovation, utility, and foresight,” says Bly. “The technology will be well-poised to be a market leader in the advent of growing bans on antibiotics.”

Ag-West investments are not only based on promising technology and business attributes. Companies must demonstrate substantial Saskatchewan presence and benefit, and Prevtec has passed this requirement with flying colours. The company has already spent more than $850,000 in Saskatchewan – money which has come largely from Quebec sources and has flowed directly to the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC). Prevtec plans to double this expenditure as it develops this new technology.

“Prevtec has been working closely with SRC for over four years to develop these vaccines. We are the example of Pan Canadian partnership between East and West Canada,” says Michel Fortin president and CEO.

Prevtec is working with SRC in the creation of a manufacturing process for the technology and the production of commercial samples, with potential for full commercial manufacture. The company’s relationship with SRC has helped accelerate the growth of SRC’s BioManufacturing Unit and garnered international industry attention.

The investment from Ag-West Bio ensures Prevtec’s technology commercialization efforts will continue to benefit Saskatchewan.

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