TECHNOLOGY


Axitan has established a robust platform to genetically engineer and grow microalgae in a cost effective and sustainable manner. Microalgae are a highly sophisticated but currently underutilised microorganism. However, through the use of our technology, microalgae based biologics will make an invaluable contribution to the animal health industry in the near future.


STRAIN DEVELOPMENT


As an expression system for recombinant proteins microalgae exhibit several advantages when compared to more traditional microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells. They possess complex protein folding machinery making it possible to produce products that bacteria and yeast would have trouble making. Many strains of algae have also are generally regarded as safe (GRAS) meaning they can be consumed by humans and animals in whole cell form.

We use strain engineering technologies developed by one of our scientific advisors, Prof. Saul Purton (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/algae) of University College London. The algae strains and engineering techniques we use allow us to make sophisticated products that can target complex pathogens. Our products are designed with biosafety in mind. As such, we have inserted mechanisms into our algae that make it incredibly hard for its recombinant DNA to be exploited by other microorganisms found in the wild.

 
 

ALGAE PRODUCTION AND PROCESSING


Once promising strains of microalgae have been developed, they are grown in our proprietary photobioreactor (PBR).  The PBR is scalable, highly productive and has the ability to be steam sterilised, meaning it is perfectly suited to the rigorous regulations surrounding the veterinary health industry. We have experience in autotrophic, mixotrophic and heterotrophic algal culture, and have developed proprietary media formulations that allow us to achieve exceptional cell densities.

Our final products are formulated using whole algal biomass. Upon harvesting, we separate the water from the algae then dry it into a powder. This process enables us to essentially eliminate the cost of purification, which in some instances can account for as much as 80% of production costs.

VACCINE ADMINISTRATION COMPARISON


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Manual Injection

Vaccination by injection is popular in both the poultry and aquaculture industry. However, this method is labour intensive, costly and stressful to animals. It can cause tissue adhesions that result in reduced growth rates and poor quality meat. In aquaculture, young fish are usually too small to be vaccinated meaning they are particularly vulnerable to disease. It is uneconomical to vaccinate animals more than once using this method which significantly reduces flexibility.
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Spray + Immersion + Drinking water

Popular administration techniques for chickens include spraying a live vaccine onto the chicken soon after hatching and administering it via drinkining water, while immersing fish in water filled with a live vaccine is common in aquaculture. These methods are cheaper than injection but often require boosters, they also result it large amounts of lost product, and pose a significant biosafety risk in the event that the live virus reverts back to a more virulent state.
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Oral (excluding algae)

Only a very small number of oral vaccines are available in both the aquaculture and poultry sectors. Such vaccines tend to degrade very quickly and often result in only short term protection. In both chickens and fish oral vaccines can be more expensive due to the additional formulation steps required.
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Microalgae

Vaccines delivered using microalgae are incredibly temperature stable. The algae also act as a shield ensuring the product is remains stable for longer. Farmers can have a much more flexible vaccination schedule, potentially offering animals a booster dose in the event of a looming disease outbreak. Microalgae based vaccines are also far less complicated to manufacture and can be produced in large quantities.