PGT owns the exclusive global rights for Aegis, an innovative, patent-pending technology platform initially developed to produce effective and low cost vaccines against viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases in animals using microbial vectors, including both bacteria and yeasts. Aegis represents a combination of processes, know-how and genetic sequences that utilizes low-cost recombinant technology for the insertion of bacterial, viral or protozoan genes into microbial vectors that then produce certain desired antigens, the active components of a vaccine. These antigens are essentially the same (or “universal”) across a range of pathogen strains, serovars and even species.
Aegis has been successful with both live Salmonella and inactivated Bacillus subtilis vectors. Bacillus subtilis has been chosen in part because it has US FDA GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) status, and thus should have a low regulatory threshold and be accepted by the public as a safe. PGT is also working on a yeast vector with a similar safety profile.
While PGT’s vaccines are low cost to produce, they are also cost effective to distribute and use. They are relatively stable at room temperature and will have advantages in transportation and storage over many current vaccines. They can be delivered orally in water or by spray and in flexible dosages while many of the currently available conventional vaccines are injected.
The Aegis universal vaccine approach, combined with simple delivery characteristics, have major implications for cost savings and acceptability, especially in the developing world which faces problems with current vaccination procedures.