The Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is teaming up with Aptimmune Biologics Inc. to develop innovative solutions to fight costly viral diseases of swine.

The agreement enables Iowa State to use Aptimmune’s patented ZMAC cell line to isolate PRRSV (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus) from diagnostic samples. The ZMAC cell line is derived from porcine alveolar macrophages, the cell naturally targeted by PRRSV and is especially sensitive to PRRSV infection. ISU’s access to this technology will provide greater success of PRRSV isolation from diagnostic samples. Improvements in the PRRSV isolation rate will allow veterinarians and producers to include the most relevant field-based PRRSV strains in autogenous vaccines.

"Our partnership with Aptimmune offers producers and veterinarians the combined resources of leading university researchers and a groundbreaking private company," said Phillip Gauger, DVM, Ph.D., at Iowa State. "We have begun work with the ZMAC cell line and very soon they will be utilized at the ISU-VDL for routine diagnostic use.” PRRSV costs the US swine industry more than $1 billion annually, so the long-term impact of our collaboration can be significant."

 The agreement grows out of an ongoing relationship in which Aptimmune has used the highly respected diagnostic services offered by Iowa State. "Our businesses strategy has always been producer-focused and results-driven," said Aaron Gilbertie, chief executive officer of Aptimmune. "This collaboration with Iowa State is a big step forward in developing effective new vaccines that will help veterinarians and producers maintain herd health and boost profitability." Based on revolutionary technology and after years of development, Aptimmune is launching the industry’s first mucosal vaccines for swine beginning January 2017.