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Partnership to address emerging animal disease threats in Australia

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Recent outbreak of lumpy skin disease foot and mouth disease in Indonesia is of paramount concern in the region.

Tiba Biotech, a preclinical biopharmaceutical company, has entered into a five-year, multi-million U.S. dollar agreement with the Australian state government of New South Wales to develop next-generation mRNA vaccines against emergency animal diseases that threaten Australia's livestock industry and domestic food security.

With additional support from the Australian State Government of Queensland, the Australian Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Meat & Livestock Australia, this partnership is part of a broader Australian Federal and State initiative to address growing biosecurity concerns, as well as establishing a domestic RNA manufacturing capability, to ensure the region has access to cutting edge vaccines and therapeutics. The international collaboration brings together Tiba Biotech scientists with researchers from the NSW Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness.

Australia is a major supplier of animal protein to the international market, generating $46 billion (USD) in annual turnover and providing directly or indirectly over 430,000 jobs, according to MLA.  This key sector of the economy, and critical source of food, is under constant threat by emerging infectious diseases. Having already initiated a project earlier this year with leading researchers at the NSW EMAI, Tiba Biotech is working with this network of government, research scientists, industry sponsors and animal health experts to tackle some of the more challenging disease threats.

The routbreak of lumpy skin disease foot and mouth disease in Indonesia is of paramount concern in the region. No protective vaccine against LSD is currently available, and estimates suggest that an FMD outbreak would cost the Australian economy $52 billion (USD) over 10 years.

"We're doing everything we can to keep NSW free of foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease, but we are also preparing for the worst by investing $148 million (USD) (AUD229 million) this year alone – the biggest investment by a single jurisdiction on exotic pest and disease control," said NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole.

"Our agreement with Tiba Biotech provides us access to some of the most advanced vaccine technology in the world," said NSW Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders.

Professor Pall Thordarson, director of the University of New South Wales RNA Institute, and head of the NSW RNA Bioscience Alliance, welcomed the agreement with Tiba Biotech. "Australia punches above its weight in RNA research, however, in such a rapidly growing field, collaboration with leading international industry players is crucial. The deal between Tiba Biotech and the NSW, Queensland and Federal animal research and biosecurity agencies  will advance our shared vision to make Australia a global powerhouse in the RNA ecosystem," said Thordarson.

"While the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the rapid development and protective potential of mRNA vaccines for human health, a similar approach is possible for high-risk animal diseases," said Peter McGrath, co-founder and chief financial officer at Tiba Biotech. "A remaining challenge is the strict cold-chain distribution system that current RNA vaccines require. Tiba Biotech's nanoparticle technology has demonstrated stability at a more practical 4oC, and we are working on a freeze-dried formula that would allow users to reconstitute the vaccine in the field without refrigeration. We are pleased to be working with this powerful coalition of government, industry and researchers to develop vaccines that protect Australia's vital livestock industry and food security."

Source: Tiba Biotech, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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