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Dow AgroSciences Canada Inc. has signed a research and licensing agreement with the University of Guelph, which is conducting research on a promising new vaccine to prevent a major flu-like disease in cattle. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Researchers at the University of Guelph have been developing plant-made antigens that have shown effectiveness against Mannheimia haemolytica, a serious respiratory pathogen that can infect entire herds of cattle. The disease makes infected animals very ill and can even be fatal. The disease is a major global concern to the livestock industry because infection is costly to treat and leads to decreased productivity.

Dow AgroSciences, among the leaders in plant biotechnology, is actively pursuing plant-derived treatments for livestock.

"We see this collaboration with the University of Guelph as an excellent opportunity to extend our technology platform with a project that will benefit the cattle industry," said Butch Mercer, global business leader, Animal Health and Nutrition for Dow AgroSciences. "Furthermore, we see this as an opportunity to collaborate with the world's best in this scientific field."

The university, with support from Dow AgroSciences Canada Inc., hopes to further develop a protein-based vaccine, which could be delivered in multiple plant systems. Developing an oral vaccine for cattle has proven difficult because of cattle's unique digestive system. Cattle's four stomachs break down therapeutic proteins before they can be absorbed through the intestines.

Dr. Patricia Shewen, professor of immunology, said university researchers have shown experimentally that proteins expressed in cattle's forage can be presented to the immune system.

Three departments at the university are involved in the research -- pathobiology, microbiology and plant agriculture. In addition to financial support, Dow AgroSciences also brings intellectual property, molecular biology expertise and other assets that will facilitate delivery and expression of the proteins in plants.

"This project brings together people with diverse expertise," Shewen said. "If we can succeed, this will revolutionize how we vaccinate cattle."

Dow AgroSciences Canada Inc. is based in Calgary, Alberta and is a subsidiary of Dow AgroSciences LLC.

Dow AgroSciences LLC, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, is a global leader in providing pest management and biotechnology products that improve the quality and quantity of the earth's food supply and contribute to the health and quality of life of the world's growing population. Dow AgroSciences has approximately 6,000 people in over 50 countries dedicated to its business, and has worldwide sales of US $2.7 billion. Dow AgroSciences is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company.

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Publication:Worldwide Biotech
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2004

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