Larad, a startup using proprietary virus-like-particle (VLP) technology to develop vaccines and diagnostics for animal diseases, received a $98,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop a VLP vaccine for chicken anemia virus. The 9 month Phase I grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow Larad to produce the chicken anemia virus VLP, which can be used as both a diagnostic reagent and a vaccine.
"Chicken anemia virus (CAV) is an important avian pathogen that causes anemia and immunodeficiency leading to secondary infections," said Dr. Daral Jackwood, Larad founder and chief executive officer. "And diagnosis in chicken flocks, particularly breeder flocks is very important to the control of the virus." Larad's CAV VLP antigens will improve the overall quality of diagnostic tests and reduce the cost of antigen production.
Additionally, the CAV VLP can be used as a vaccine in nearly all breeder chicken flocks. This new vaccine would give poultry producers a safe and reliable product that will provide long term immunity. "Immunosuppressive diseases like CAV can result in $1-3 billion losses for the U.S. poultry industry" says Jackwood. "Larad is grateful to receive this funding from the USDA to aid us in developing products to diagnose and prevent CAV and help producers reduce these losses."
Larad received a $470,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop VLP vaccines for food-animal diseases. The two-year Phase II grant from the United States Department of Agriculture will allow Larad to take the vaccine technology developed for infectious bursal disease (IBD) with a Phase I grant and apply it to other food-animal diseases.
VLPs are similar to viruses and are recognized by the animal's immune system, giving protection against the disease. But unlike conventional live virus vaccines, VLP vaccines do not contain any genetic material so they cannot cause disease. And while conventional vaccines become less effective as viruses mutate, Larad can adapt its VLP vaccines to combat changing viruses.
"This customizability is a game-changing approach that hasn't been possible in the animal vaccine industry until now," said Dr. Daral Jackwood, Larad founder and chief executive officer. "And its implications for the food industry are significant given the number of economically devastating animal diseases that are caused by viruses."
Larad will add at least two new vaccines to its arsenal with the Phase II funding. The company plans to develop a VLP vaccine against infectious pancreatic necrosis virus, which causes a disease in farm-raised salmonids, and avian reovirus, the cause of viral arthritis in poultry. Current vaccines for both diseases are only marginally effective due to changes that occur in the virus.
"Safe and affordable food is an important part of human health and wellness and diseases that affect food animals threaten the safety and quantity of this food source," says Jackwood. "We are pleased that the USDA has chosen to support Larad so we can develop adaptive vaccines that will help producers continue to provide a safe food supply."
Larad has been recognized with a 2014 NorTech Innovation Award in the "Most Innovative Solution" category. The award was presented to Larad at the Innovation Awards gala at the Cleveland Convention Center on September 23, 2014.
The NorTech Innovation Awards highlight Northeast Ohio's technology and innovation assets by celebrating individuals and organizations that are accelerating the pace of innovation in the region. Established in 2000, the awards recognize new technologies, products and innovative business solutions that have transformed companies and research institutions, revitalized the region's economy and created new opportunities for Northeast Ohioans of all backgrounds.
Larad, Inc. is awarded a USDA/SBIR grant. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Small Business Innovation Research Program announces that Larad, Inc. has been selected to receive a $97,218 grant in the Animal Production & Protection Program area. The proposal titled "Virus-like-particle (VLP) vaccines for infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV)" was one of the 18% of submitted proposals selected for funding in 2014.
The Ohio Development Services Agency announces the 2013 Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-up Fund awardees. Larad, Inc., located in the city of Wooster (Wayne County) was awarded $100,000 for its project that will develop and market virus-like particles that can be used as vaccines for multiple strains of infectious bursal disease virus in poultry.
May 2013 Larad, Inc. is awarded a $25,000 "A" Grant from the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE) Innovation Fund. In addition to supporting business and entrepreneurial activities of the company the A Grant will be used to provide an Independent Study Experience in Entrepreneurship for one student.