The first product to be developed will be a point-of-care rapid diagnostic test to identify pigs who have been exposed to the African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV). The agreement is the first collaboration between the two companies and provides the framework for further co-developments across a potentially wide range of diagnostic areas.
Under the terms of the agreement, Algenex will deliver the diagnostic reagents and Global DX will provide the technical expertise to develop and manufacture the point-of-care rapid diagnostic tests. Both companies will collaborate in the distribution of the final product, which is anticipated to be ready for commercialisation in Europe by the end of 2019.
African Swine Fever is a severe viral disease for which there is currently no available vaccine. It affects domestic pigs and wild boars and causes high mortality, approaching 100% in less than 10 days in acute cases. The clinical symptoms of the ASFV infection are similar to those of Classical Swine Fever, and the two diseases can only be differentiated through laboratory diagnosis.
The disease was eradicated in Europe (with the exception of Sardinia) in the 1990s via drastic control and eradication programs. Algenex’ Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, José Angel Escribano, played a role in the eradication of the virus in Europe during this time, contributing to the development of some of the OIE reference diagnostic tests. In 2007, the disease spread again out of Africa into the Caucasus, Russia and more recently into China, where it has led to the slaughter of several million pigs in an effort to control the dissemination of the virus. In 2014, the ASFV reached the eastern territories of the European Union. Latest reports imply the disease has reached a growing list of countries in the EU, Eastern Europe, the Baltics and other Asian territories aside from China, representing possibly the most serious threat that the global veterinary industry has had to face in the last decades.
“We are excited to be joining forces with Global DX to develop diagnostic products for the detection of the ASFV,” said Claudia Jiménez, General Manager of Algenex. “By combining Algenex’ expertise in protein expression and an understanding of the ASFV through the involvement of our Founder in the previous eradication campaign, with Global DX’s diagnostic capabilities, we have the potential to play an important role in stopping the further dissemination of this highly contagious disease that is already having devastating consequences in China and across other geographies.”
“Global DX is very excited to partner with Algenex in the development of this rapid test. The test to be developed will constitute an important element in the battle against African Swine Fever, adding a product with a high unmet need to our growing catalogue and placing us at the forefront of innovation in veterinary diagnostics,” said Andrew Shepherd, Founder and CEO of Global DX.Download