Animal Health Case Study: Assessment of RSV antiviral technology for the University of Warwick

Objectives

Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a major contributor to lower respiratory tract infection. In humans this affects infants, the elderly and immuno-deficient patients, often severely. The equivalent virus is also a major contributor to economic loss in cattle (BRSV), amounting to losses of $1billion (US) and £54 million (UK). There is currently one human treatment available (MedImmune’s Palivizumab) and for cattle, a number of multivalent respiratory vaccines.

Developments in human medicine have historically played a vital role in the sourcing of new animal health products. Most of the main players in the animal health market remain associated with a human pharmaceutical parent company. This combination suggests an attractive package for a drug compound targeting RSV, a virus with remarkably similar characteristics in both the human and bovine form.

Background

A virology research team at the University of Warwick has identified a novel compound with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) antiviral activity, targeting a novel step in viral replication. The University had filed a priority patent application and wanted to understand the commercial opportunity to exploit their findings in both the animal and human health markets.


Approach

We used a combination of secondary market research, coupled with patent landscape analysis to scope out the overall market opportunity in both the human and animal health markets. From this analysis we were able to compile a list of potential company partners in both sectors and to use our existing networks within these companies to gather direct primary research. 

Result

The research identified opportunities for both an antiviral and prophylactic treatment, with industry interest realised in both the pharmaceutical and animal health markets.

The research has since been further developed under BBSRC translational development funding.

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