Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly & Co., announced a new global in-licensing agreement with Ab E Discovery to further develop and bring to market an egg antibody focused on supporting gut health -- and, thereby, the growth and welfare -- of poultry.
Developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison by Drs. Mark Cook and Jordan Sand, this unique innovation targets anti-nutritional challenges found in an animal's gut.
The technology, when fully developed, will focus on the natural ability of hens to pass antibodies to their offspring through eggs, Elanco said. Adding egg proteins to the diets of young birds passes on antibodies to improve gut health. A healthy gut can decrease susceptibility to certain pathogens, such as Eimeria spp., which are known to cause coccidiosis.
"Coccidiosis is one of the most significant health challenges in poultry that, when not well controlled, can lead to intestinal health challenges that often require treatment with shared-class antibiotics," said Aaron Schacht, vice president of Elanco Research & Development. "This deal further signifies Elanco's commitment to bring producers' innovative alternatives to antibiotics while preserving the health and welfare of the animal."
"Elanco's combination of industry expertise and dedication to innovation present the perfect combination for elevating this technology to its full potential," said Christopher Salm, chief executive officer of Ab E Discovery. "A true entrepreneurial scientist, we know Mark (Cook) would have been thrilled at how far his discovery has come in its path to commercialization."
The technology is in late-stage development, with an initial focus on poultry. Elanco has the exclusive global rights to the technology for all animal species.
By 2020, Elanco aims to deliver a total of 25 viable antibiotic alternative development projects that address critical unmet challenges in livestock production and reduce the need for shared-class antibiotics that are also critical to human medicine.
Identifying and developing new products and tools to manage the animal's intestinal integrity and control infections for optimal animal health and well-being is of critical importance to Elanco, according to the announcement. The company will continue to seek solutions that support the intestinal integrity of broilers to help manage the animal's microbiome, control infections, reduce gut inflammation and improve digestion.
Elanco provides comprehensive products and knowledge services to improve animal health and food-animal production in more than 70 countries.
Ab E Discovery partners with entrepreneurial scientists to lead their technologies from discovery to impact. As a full-service commercialization resource, Ab E Discovery focuses on bio-functional feed technologies and delivers the expertise, knowledge and hands-on support needed to develop and manufacture industry-ready innovations.