Fighting disease is nothing new for hog producers and veterinarians. Each herd can present specific virus and bacteria challenges. Cambridge Technologies believes it can use the latest next-generation sequencing and techniques to identify all viruses and bacteria in a swine herd with the development of its Precision Vaccinology. That data is used by Cambridge technicians to select the best candidates for a herd-specific vaccine, which is then manufactured for the herd veterinarian.
Judge Brad Leuwerke, veterinarian with the Swine Vet Center in St. Peter, Minn., says he likes any company working to develop products that are not available commercially but may hold promise in the herd health battle. For the pathogens that kill pigs, “we don’t have a lot of vaccines available, so a company that is working on that is good,” he says. “What makes me nervous is that metagenomics is looking for a multitude of things in a sample, and it creates a lot of confusion among swine producers. What does it mean? But I appreciate that there’s someone out there who’s trying to find a solution to what’s killing pigs.”
The metagenome is essentially all the genetic material that is present in a sample. Metagenomics, an advanced technology, is the process of sequencing this genetic material and identifying all the bacteria and viruses in a sample. Cambridge Technologies’ lab staff then search for those that may be associated with the disease syndrome, to then make further efforts to grow the bacteria or viruses for a custom vaccine.
Gary Anderson, judge who is an ag engineering professor at the South Dakota State University in Brookings, sees a “big plus that they’re trying to make a more-specific vaccine rather than a broad-based approach.”
Getting ahead of a disease quickly is imperative to preserving herd health, and judge Pat Thome, hog producer from Adams, Minn., was intrigued by Cambridge’s six- to eight-week timeline to get a new vaccine to market versus the standard 10 to 12 weeks.