Exploiting Natural Defences of Farm Animals to Control Infectious Diseases

NETHERLANDS - Pfizer announced the launch of a new Public-Private partnership research program, ALTANT - ASIA in collaboration with leading scientists in the Netherlands, seeking to develop alternative strategies to protect farm animals from infectious disease by minimising the likelihood of inducing antibiotic resistance.
calendar icon 27 June 2012
clock icon 3 minute read
Pfizer Animal Health

This research programme of approximately 10 million US dollars was co-financed by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation in collaboration with ImmunoValley and Utrecht University, and represents one of the largest funding ever granted for this type of therapeutic research attesting to the importance to the sector.

Theo Kanellos, Associate Director, Pfizer Animal Health Global Alliance. Photography: Menno Vermeulen

Drs Chris Buijink, Secretary-General of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation Dr Arno Vermeulen, Managing Director of Immuno Valley Photography: Menno Vermeulen

Drs Chris Buijink, Secretary-General of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation Prof Dr Henk Haagsman, Projectleader ALTANT-ASIA, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, The Netherlands Dr Theo Kanellos, Dr Liana Steeghs, Deputy Director of Immuno Valley. Photograpy: Menno Vermeulen

"This is a unique, well orchestrated, outcome focused Public-Private partnership, which brings together a multidisciplinary, high calibre research team to investigate the use of new classes of peptides that have shown to have profound antimicrobial and immunomodulatory effects,” said Theo Kanellos, Associate Director of Global Alliances.

All partners will closely collaborate to develop innovative anti-infectives based on newly identified small peptides as alternatives to antibiotics for animals.

They will contribute to the research programme by sharing knowledge, equipment and financial resources. “Utrecht University has a strong focus on society related research such as Sustainability, Regenerative Medicine and Infectious Diseases. The collaboration in Immuno Valley ALTANT with a top 3, global player like Pfizer Animal Health is a recognition for the quality of our science and will create a return on the investment from public funding,” said Yvonne van Rooy, President of the Utrecht University Executive Board.

The overall project represents a new era in the co-funding schemes as the project is very much focused in delivering a platform of new class anti-infective products for livestock that will exhibit antimicrobial and immunomodulatory properties. It fits into the ‘One Health’ focus of Immuno Valley, which aims at closer collaboration between academia and industry to control infectious diseases of animal and man. As emphasized by Arno Vermeulen, Managing Director of Immuno Valley, “The ALTANT program is an example of a private-public partnership, in which a societal need leads to inventive knowledge and innovative products”.

This research consortium is recognition of Pfizer’s commitment and strong interest in antimicrobial research and continuous innovation in the field of infectious diseases.

Alejandro Bernal, Area President for Pfizer Animal Health stated “With thanks to this investment, Pfizer Animal Health clearly shows its trust in the value of active collaboration within open innovation networks. The Netherlands strives to improve its position among the top 10 most innovative countries by actively stimulating public-private partnerships such as the Immuno Valley ALTANT program, thus adding value to its high quality science base.” He added, “As a member of the steering committee, Pfizer stands at the fore front of this collaboration and contributes to design this program which addresses important market needs.”

Jeffrey L Watts ( Director of Anti-infectives research) commented, “This opportunity recognizes the long term need for new anti-infectives for the development of effective treatments for infectious animal diseases while minimizing the impact on resistance in both human and animal pathogens. Moreover, the funding of this initiative by the Dutch government represents an acknowledgment of the necessity of such programs and the need to responsibly partner with the industry to bring new therapies to market. As an individual who has been involved in successful antibacterial discovery programs relating to both human and animal health, I believe that this kind of collaboration offers an outstanding opportunity to make advancements in this area.”

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