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Merck Animal Health and Alopexx develop pneumonia vaccine for foals

Published data describing the activity of this vaccine in foals indicates it has the potential to prevent a broad range of infections

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Two companies have come together to develop a vaccine for infections in young horses.

Alopexx Vaccine and Merck Animal Health have entered into an exclusive global license agreement to create and commercialize its poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (PNAG) vaccine. The treatment is for Rhodococcus equi (R. equi) pneumonia in foals and other infections.

“Published data describing the activity of this vaccine in foals indicates it has the potential to prevent a broad range of bacterial, fungal, and parasitic equine infections,” said Daniel Vlock, MD, chief executive officer of Alopexx.

“We look forward to collaborating with Merck Animal Health on the further development of this vaccine for the prevention of infections in horses.”

Discovered by Gerald B. Pier, PhD, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School (HMS), the PNAG target has been identified as a conserved surface polysaccharide produced by major bacterial, fungal, and protozoal parasites, which can be addressed using a single antigen vaccination.

According to studies, Alopexx’s vaccine demonstrated 91 percent protective efficacy against R. equi in foals born to immunized mares.

There are currently no licensed R. equi vaccines on the market.

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