BELLEVILLE, Ontario – Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. received $500,000 for research and development of a second-generation E. coli O157 cattle vaccine.

The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) made the contribution, which will offset salary costs and contractor fees associated with the project for the next three years, according to Bioniche. The company will also explore the ability of the second-generation vaccine to cross-protect against other E. coli serotypes. The company will produce the second-generation E. coli O157 vaccine in its Animal Health and Food Safety Vaccine Manufacturing Centre in Belleville.

“We are pleased to receive this funding from IRAP,” said Rick Culbert, president, Bioniche One Health. “We have been working with Dr. Brett Finlay at the Univ. of British Columbia on the development of a second-generation E. coli O157 cattle vaccine, which is expected to be safer to make, more readily produced with higher yields than the first-generation vaccine, and may have the potential to cross-protect against other E. coli serotypes.”

Approximately 100,000 cases of human infection with E. coli O157 are reported each year in North America, and Canada accounts for more than 20,000 of these cases. The cost of primary and long-term illnesses in Canada has been estimated at $240 million annually.

“There is compelling evidence to show that immunization of cattle against E. coli O157 will reduce the shedding of this deadly pathogen, and several modeling studies have been done to demonstrate that human illness would be reduced as a result of this reduction in shedding,” Culbert added. “Since E. coli O157 does not make cattle ill, the rationale for cattle vaccination is to reduce the amount of E. coli O157 being shed into food, water and the environment, and, in turn, to reduce exposure by people.”

Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. is a research-based Canadian biopharmaceutical company. Bioniche One Health specializes in R&D, developing, manufacturing and marketing veterinary biopharmaceutical products.