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Merck Animal Health, Rapid Genomics to collaborate on vaccine verification

Verification tool provides highly sensitive and accurate result to confirm presence of vaccine replication in the bird.

Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co. Inc., announced Feb. 12 a collaboration agreement with Rapid Genomics that grants Merck Animal Health exclusive rights to Rapid Genomics’ Viral Flex-Seq vaccination verification tool.

According to the announcement, this tool will be utilized in combination with Merck Animal Health’s Innovax range of vaccines.

The collaboration was announced at the 2019 International Production & Processing Expo held this week in Atlanta, Ga.

“This partnership will bring together Merck Animal Health’s unique broad vaccine product line and Rapid Genomics’ innovative vaccination verification test to optimize and enhance disease outbreak management in poultry for improved animal health and welfare,” said Dr. Taylor Barbosa, Merck Animal Health executive director, global poultry marketing. “As the poultry industry grows, there is an increased need for improving disease control to optimize productivity, and we are committed to growing with the industry to bring innovative solutions to our customers.”

The companies said Viral Flex-Seq is a product that provides a highly sensitive and accurate result to confirm the presence of vaccine replication in the bird. The system uses next-generation sequencing technology -- an advanced method of genomic analysis -- to specifically detect replication of Innovax vaccines and differentiate them from field viruses, according to the announcement.

“We are proud and excited to partner with Merck Animal Health, an industry-leading poultry vaccine company,” Rapid Genomics chief executive officer Richard Currie said. “This partnership supports our mission as innovators in the field of genomic testing to set the standard for HVT vector vaccine detection and associated infectious pathogen diagnosis.”

Merck Animal Health is a leader in animal health vaccines, with a broad product line of poultry vaccines against most major pathogens and a focus on diseases affecting broilers, breeders and layers. With a robust research and development pipeline spanning key disease areas, the company aims to advance vaccine and pharmaceutical scientific innovations in veterinary medicine in poultry as well as in other species areas.

Rapid Genomics is an industry-leading provider of sequencing-based genotyping and molecular-based diagnostics solutions for the animal and plant production industries as well as the microbiology industry.

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