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Inovio, Plumbline to collaborate on novel ASF vaccine

zhaojiankang/iStock/Getty Images pigs on farm in China_zhaojiankang_iStock_Getty Images-700500398.jpg

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Plumbline Life Sciences announced May 15 a collaboration to co-develop a novel animal health vaccine for African swine fever (ASF) virus. The vaccine will be developed using Inovio's SynCon technology and delivered using Cellectra efficacy-enabling devices, the announcement said.

Plumbline, based in South Korea, said it will fund all development and commercialization of the ASF vaccine. Inovio and Plumbline already have a license partnership in animal health fields, and Inovio currently holds an approximately 15% equity ownership in Plumbline.

As part of this agreement, Inovio will construct and test the ASF vaccine in small animal models. Plumbline will further test the vaccine in larger animal models, including in pig challenge models and further develop and commercialize the vaccine, the announcement said.

Financial arrangements were not disclosed.

ASF is a highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, which is responsible for serious economic and production losses. There is no approved vaccine for ASF, and the current outbreak in Asia is dramatically threatening the agricultural economies of many Asian countries, including China, Vietnam and Korea. The disease is incurable in pigs but innocuous to people.

Inovio chief scientific officer Dr. Laurent Humeau said, "We are extremely pleased to apply Inovio's Synthetic Nucleics platform to develop a vaccine to combat this deadly pig virus. Inovio has a track record of developing novel emerging infectious disease vaccines, and we are pleased to work with Plumbline to further test and commercialize an ASF vaccine."

Plumbline president and chief executive officer Anthony K. Kim said, "Plumbline is very excited to collaborate with Inovio to advance a new vaccine for this horrible threat for animal health and agricultural food supplies. Plumbline has a proven track record of commercializing DNA-based therapies for animal health as we have the distinction of having our product for pigs, LifeTide SW5, already approved in Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. We will devote our full resources to commercialize a vaccine for ASF as rapidly as possible."

Plumbline, an animal biopharmaceutical company, focuses on companion animals. It develops DNA-based vaccines and therapies for animals using plasmid-based DNA delivery and expression technology by electroporation to optimize an animal's natural biological and immunological potential.

Inovio is an innovative biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of its synthetic nucleic technology targeted against cancers and infectious diseases.

Source: Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Plumbline Life Sciences, which are solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

EveryPig connects with AP Edge for water, temperature data

National Pork Board pigs drinking from nipple waterers

EveryPig has announced its easy-to-use web-based platform now features real-time connectivity with AP (Automated Production) EDGE Barn Controller units, an industry-leading barn automation system. The new AP-EDGE integration will automatically communicate water consumption and temperature data to EveryPig.

The company says the cutting-edge functionality will help caregivers who use the internet-enabled controllers to streamline their daily checkup process and save time since their barn data will be automatically entered into EveryPig’s system. Water consumption fluctuation is often an early indication of a pig health problem. Having this information integrated into their EveryPig account, will enable field managers, veterinarians, and pig owners to identify pig health problems faster or even before pigs show signs of a problem.

“The new AP-EDGE connectivity is another milestone in EveryPig’s mission to improve animal health,” says EveryPig founder Chris Bomgaars. “The water consumption and temperature data points received from barn controllers will help veterinarians, field managers and caregivers to spot health issues quicker. The connection will also speed up the learning process of our algorithms, enabling EveryPig to offer quicker AI-assisted responses when pigs start to get sick. We look forward to working with more innovative companies like AP that understand that user needs come first, and there is plenty of room for more collaboration in the industry.”

EveryPig also extends a special thanks to Blake Berg, a forward-thinking Iowa farmer who was the first to ask for and implement the integration.

“It’s exciting to be helping with new technology to better track information and to help with daily pig health,” Berg says.

Earlier this year, the software company introduced an all-new antibiotic tracking and analytics functionality aimed at decreasing unnecessary antibiotic use that allows pork producers to track their system-wide antibiotics usage and compare it over time.

Source: EveryPig, 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.

Competitors begin to whittle away U.S. pork’s market share in Mexico

National Pork Board U.S. pork featured at Costco in Mexico City

While pork exports haven’t fared as well in 2019 across the U.S. southern border, Mexican trade partners remain cautiously optimistic that tariff issues will be resolved.

“We are seeing the evidence of the 20% duty on pork really hit home,” says Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation president and CEO, who just returned from a series of meetings in Mexico with importers, processors and other key customers of U.S. red meat. “Our purpose being down there was to really talk with trade and assure them we are reliable suppliers and are hopeful for some resolutions on some of the issues. I would say the tone amongst the customers was one of cautious optimism. They appreciate the supply chain with the U.S., and they continue to work with us closely, but we do need to have some resolutions to some of these issues, primarily being the steel and aluminum duties and consequently the resulting duties on pork.”

First quarter pork volume to Mexico was down 13% year-over-year to 177,420 metric tons, while value declined 29% to $261.9 million.

Beef, on the other hand, hung in there with some modest growth. U.S. beef exports to Mexico posted a solid first quarter, with combined beef/beef variety meat volume increasing 1% from a year ago to 57,591 mt while value jumped 12% to $280.2 million. This included a strong increase in beef muscle cut exports, which were up 14% in volume (35,481 mt) and 16% in value ($220.7 million).

Halstrom explains that while the U.S. is still Mexico’s primary supplier of imported pork, Canada, Chile and the European Union are gradually gaining market share and Mexico’s domestic pork production is also trending higher.

“The U.S. still has a primary import share on pork, albeit at lower values, but we are seeing some of our competitors whittle away a little bit at market share,” Halstrom says. “We are seeing Canada increase a couple points each month on market share and we are seeing Europe increase. The customers don’t necessarily want to develop those supply chains because economically the U.S. makes the most sense, but in essence what all this uncertainly is doing is forcing them to diversify a little bit to these other countries. Once again, it echoes the need to bring resolutions to some of these outstanding issues.”

Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation, 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.

MORNING Midwest Digest, May 15, 2019

A handful of schools in Michigan went on lockdown yesterday after a former student made a threat against the schools.

Farmer organizations are supporting the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019.

Tick season is starting, and Lyme Disease is something to be concerned about. 

Have you heard about the "zombie" raccoons in a Chicago suburb?


Photo: anakopa/Getty Images



Farm Progress America, May 15, 2019

Max Armstrong shares some insight on the woes facing the dairy industry. A key indicator is the decline in demand for 2% and fat free milk. Dairy exports have helped that demand picture, but it hasn’t made up the entire difference. Trade agreements also play into the picture. And production the U.S. and European Union has slid, but in other markets production has risen.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: branex/iStock/Getty Images Plus

CME Group launches new fresh bacon index

Shutterstock bacon frying-shutterstock_99306467.jpg

CME Group, the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, announced May 13 that it has begun publishing a new "CME Fresh Bacon Index" to establish a transparent price reference for fresh pork bellies used to make bacon.

According to the announcement, this new index comes amid significant bacon price volatility driven by rapidly growing consumer demand, global trade disputes and disease. Prices for pork bellies are the most volatile of all the pork primal cuts, with volatility peaking at more than 40% in 2018, CME said.

"As consumer tastes have evolved, bacon is now in demand year-round," said Fred Seamon, CME Group executive director of agricultural research and product development. "We believe our Fresh Bacon Index can become the market-preferred bacon price reference. This new index will provide greater price discovery for market participants who need transparent bacon prices."

The new index will provide producers, packers, processors, wholesalers, foodservice, retailers and others across the bacon supply chain with a transparent weekly price in order to track the supply and demand dynamics of bacon transacted on the cash market, CME said.

The index establishes a weekly bacon price each Monday based on a combination of negotiated and formula transactions that are readily available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The CME Fresh Bacon Index price reflects the value of one load (40,000 lb.) of fresh, skinless pork bellies in cents per pound.

The CME Fresh Bacon Index will complement CME's existing risk management tools and reference index prices for pork and hog industry participants, including lean hog futures and options, the CME Lean Hog Index and the CME Pork Cutout Index, the announcement said.

More information on the CME Fresh Bacon Index is available at

MORNING Midwest Digest, May 14, 2019

Corn and soybean planting the past week was even slower than the trade expected. 

You can officialy, legally bet on your favorite sports team in Iowa. 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials say their advance sales are on par with the previous year.

A building painter is painting Stevie Wonder on a building in Detroit. Yesterday was the singer's birthday.


Photo: Koele/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Can air passengers bring African swine fever in their luggage?

FangXiaNuo-GettyImages NHF-FangXiaNuo-GettyImages-Luggage-Airport-1540.jpg

By Andres Perez and Maria Sol Perez, University of Minnesota; Cristina Jurado and Jose Manuel Sanchez Vizcaino, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain; Beatriz Martinez, University of California, Davis; and Lina Mur, Kansas State University 
African swine fever is a disease caused by a virus that is not present in the United States, but that has been expanding extensively globally over the last few years. Clinical signs associated with ASF infection may vary from a subclinical form, with only unspecific signs of disease (such as fever) to high and sudden mortality rates. Despite the nature of the clinical signs, if the ASFv was introduced into the U.S., the industry will be deeply affected, including restrictions to movements and trade. For that reason, prevention is critical for the industry. 

In 2018, ASF spread into Western Europe, and, for the first time, into China affecting 28 provinces and in early 2019 Mongolia and Vietnam reported their first outbreaks. Because the ASFv is highly resistant and because of such dramatic change in the global epidemiological conditions of ASF, there have been concerns the disease may continue to spread into disease-free regions, such as the U.S. 

A study recently conducted by the University of Minnesota Center for Animal Health and Food Safety in collaboration with ASF experts from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain, and with funding provided by the National Pork Board and the Swine Health Information Center concluded that the risk for ASFv introduction into the U.S. via smuggling of pork in air passenger’s luggage has dramatically increased in 2018 and 2019, compared to previous years. Specifically, results suggest the mean risk of ASF virus introduction into the U.S. in this way has increased 183%, compared to the risk estimated before the disease spread into China, East Asia and Western Europe in 2018 and 2019. 

Results also suggest it is likely (mean probability ~ 1) ASF virus is currently reaching U.S. airports in air passengers’ luggage, prior to customs inspection, which is consistent with the detection of ASF virus in seized pork in a number of Australian and Asian airports. Likely, the risk decreases substantially after customs inspection. Most of the risk (greater than 50%) was associated with flights originated from China and Hong Kong, followed by the Russian Federation (27%). Data showed risk was highest in summer and five airports (Newark, New Jersey; George Bush, Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; John F. Kennedy, New York; and San Jose, California) account for greater than 90% of the risk.  

Prevention, and eventually early detection, are critical to mitigate the potential impact of an ASFv incursion into the U.S. High biosecurity levels are critical (because, for example, contact with individuals that may have traveled internationally, or with feral pigs that may have become infected with a hypothetical incursion may result in introduction of the virus into the farm). If you have, or anyone you know has, traveled international, remember not to bring pork products, report any potential contact you have had with swine farms overseas to the USDA upon return into the country at your port of entry and clean and disinfect clothes and material that traveled overseas.

Before you plan to visit a pig farm in the U.S., contact the herd veterinarian so that you can follow the appropriate downtime as you should not visit a pig farm right away. Likewise, any suspect of disease in the farm should be followed by consultation with your veterinarian and/or state animal health official and, if appropriate, with any of the 44 laboratories that are part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, that are able to test for ASF.

Source: University of Minnesota,Universidad Complutense de Madrid, UC Davis and Kansas State University who 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.