The University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Centre for Veterinary Vaccine Innovation and Manufacturing (CVIM) at The Pirbright Institute (Pirbright). The MOU allows for expanded collaborations and training around vaccine manufacturing to drive innovations for animal health.

The collaboration, signed yesterday in Pirbright, U.K., will contribute to global animal health, including process development and vaccine manufacturing for emerging infectious diseases of livestock, specifically those that affect primarily low-and-middle-income countries.
"Collaborating with the CVIM is a vital step towards establishing a global network of key groups with the capacity to drive discovery innovations to commercial readiness," said VIDO Director and CEO, Dr. Volker Gerdts "This MOU reinforces VIDO’s commitment to addressing infectious diseases of global importance and foster vaccine commercialization as Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research." 

VIDO has close to five decades of expertise developing vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and is one of the largest and most advanced containment Level 3-agriculture (CL3-Ag) research facilities in the world. The new Vaccine Development Centre (VDC) at VIDO builds on VIDO’s roots in veterinary medicine and expertise in developing animal models of disease. This is important as most new and emerging human infectious diseases originate in animals. 

The CVIM based at Pirbright was established with funding from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). It was established to help answer an unmet global need to develop vaccines to control disease in livestock. Both the VDC and CVIM have been established to accelerate commercial development, with a recognized effort to prioritize neglected livestock diseases and urgent emerging zoonotic diseases.

"The growing collaboration between these two institutes is a testament of our partnership to address some of the major global challenges related to food security for the world, particularly for low-and-middle-income countries," said Professor Bryan Charleston, FRS, director of The Pirbright Institute. Both organizations expect this collaboration to expand to groups in low-and-middle-income countries.  

" VIDO’s research efforts address diseases that have the potential to inflict profound impacts on both humans and animals. These diseases pose a risk to the well-being and welfare of everyone," said USask President Peter Stoicheff. "Together, the VDC and CVIM are working towards combating this problem and creating solutions that will benefit people around the world."