MSD Animal Health, known as Merck Animal Health in the U.S. and Canada, has entered into an agreement to acquire Harrisvaccines Inc., a privately-held company that develops, manufactures and sells vaccines for food production and companion animals.
“As a leader in biologics, Merck Animal Health has built a robust portfolio of vaccines across all animal species,” stated Rick DeLuca, president, Merck Animal Health. “Combining Harrisvaccines’ R&D and portfolio of products with our strong capabilities and global reach will enable us to address even more devastating diseases that are impacting production animals and reinforce our commitment to the science of healthier animals.”
Harrisvaccines offers innovative technology and an important portfolio of vaccines, with a focus on production animals, an increasingly important segment as consumer demand for protein continues to grow worldwide. The company has a unique RNA Particle technology which represents a breakthrough in vaccine development. It also has a highly versatile production platform able to target a wide range of viruses and bacteria. Pathogens are collected from a farm and specific genes are sequenced and inserted into RNA particles, making safe, potent vaccines able to provide herd-specific protection.
This pioneering system is rapidly adaptable to new disease challenges and was instrumental in producing the first conditionally licensed vaccine to help control porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus, a deadly virus that has killed more than eight million piglets since suddenly emerging in the U.S. in 2013. In September 2015, Harrisvaccines received a conditional approval for a Eurasian H5 subtype avian influenza vaccine and was subsequently awarded a contract by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) to produce the vaccine.
“We are excited to join forces with Merck Animal Health,” said Dr. Hank Harris, founder and CEO of Harrisvaccines. “Their vaccine expertise, commercial reach and worldwide network of R&D and manufacturing sites, combined with our knowledge and novel technology, represents a tremendous opportunity to best serve producers and veterinarians as they protect the health of animals worldwide.”
The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The companies expect the transaction to close in the fourth quarter of 2015.