A closer look at four CVM inventors’ patents and licenses
Nubia Macedo, research assistant, Veterinary Population Medicine Department
Received a patent for the discovery of a highly immunogenic and species-specific Haemophilus parasuis protein.
Haemophilus parasuis is an important swine pathogen that causes respiratory and systemic problems. BioChek, a European company, bought the rights to use the Haemophilus parasuis protein in a commercial serological test.
Michael Murtaugh, professor, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department
Received a patent for identifying virally infected and vaccinated organisms (patent number US 7611717)
When animals test positive for a viral infection, Murtaugh’s invention allows scientists to determine whether the positive result was due to previous vaccination or infection with a virulent field virus.
"The patent provides methods and materials related to assessing organisms for the presence or absence of anti-virus antibodies," Murtaugh explains. For example, it provides methods and materials that can be used to determine whether or not an organism (e.g., a pig) contains anti-PRRS (porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome) virus antibodies. In other embodiments, it provides methods and materials that can be used to determine if a particular organism received a vaccine version of a virus, was infected with a naturally occurring version of the virus, or is naive with respect to the virus.
Simone Oliveira, assistant clinical professor, Veterinary Population Medicine Department
Received a patent for an ELISA test using the Haemophilus parasuis OppA as the main antigen; licensed the use of the Haemophilus parasuis OppA protein for diagnostics and vaccination
Haemophilus parasuis is an economically relevant swine pathogen that is involved in nursery mortality worldwide. Although Oliveira has a background in vaccine development and diagnostics, the OppA protein was discovered when her laboratory was searching for a good candidate to genotype H. parasuis using sequence-based methods.
“We wanted to sequence a gene that was immunologically relevant to swine,” she explains. “When searching for antigens recognized by the pig immune system, we came across a protein that was immunodominant and conserved among H. parasuis strains and serovars. Further testing revealed that the OppA antigen was also highly specific for H. parasuis. At this point, we knew we had a great candidate for H. parasuis diagnostics and likely vaccination.”
An ELISA test using the H. parasuis OppA as the main antigen was developed and a patent was filed.
“This is the very first universal ELISA test available to track antibodies against this pathogen,” Oliveira says. “It is extremely useful to identify naive populations and track response to vaccination. We now have a license agreement with Biochek, a company based in the Netherlands that specializes in commercializing serological kits to the veterinary market worldwide.”
The potential of the OppA protein for vaccination is currently being evaluated.
“Generating data and products useful to swine veterinarians has always been one of my main priorities,” Oliveira says. “The discovery, patenting, and licensing of the OppA ELISA is the perfect example of how the University of Minnesota and the College of Veterinary Medicine can be a great resource for the animal health industry.”
Yue Wang, research associate, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department
License agreement for an isolated polynucleotide comprising a porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus genome sequence having a deletion of at least 57 consecutive nucleotides in a region corresponding to a nonstructural protein 2 (nsp2) encoding sequence, wherein the exogenous polynucleotide encodes a detectable marker
This recombinant marker virus would provide a basis for further development of PRRS virus marker vaccines to assist with the control of PRRS. In the meantime, it would provide an important research tool for further study of the basic viral biology and pathogenic mechanisms.