Hypocat Vaccine 2020

Allergy suffered by humans to companion animals such as cats and dogs and the lack of effective therapies for those who suffer these allergies is an area of significant unmet medical and veterinary need. Cat allergy exemplifies this well. Ten percent of the general human population suffers from cat allergy and ~ 25% of households have cats. Moreover, sensitization to cats is a strong risk factor for children to develop asthma. There is no effective treatment for cat allergy in humans; treatment of symptoms or avoidance of animals are the usually prescribed recourses. Separation of owners and families from their beloved pets is traumatic for both animal and human and in many cases can not even be contemplated. Nevertheless, allergy suffered by owners, friends & relatives is a leading cause of cat abandonment. Sadly, of the 3.4 million cats abandoned annually to U.S cat shelters, approximately 1.4 million of these animals are euthanized. Allergy is also a leading reason for abandonment of cats into urban and native environments. In addition to the suffering experienced by the abandoned animals, problems are created for native fauna through predation.


HypoPet, which spun off from research conducted at the University of Zurich in 2014, aims to prevent household cats from producing a key allergen called Fel d 1. It’s a protein produced in various cat glands and is found in their saliva and on their skin. Fel d 1 is the primary cause of allergic reactions to cats among humans.  HypoPet is working on an experimental vaccine called Fel-CuMV (or HypoCat), which incorporates particles from the cucumber mosaic virus attached to a Fel d 1 protein. The vaccine tricks the cat’s immune system into recognizing the protein as a foreign intruder. This induces the production of antibodies that neutralize the Fel d 1 proteins, essentially eliminating their presence in the cat’s body.  

Although HypoPet has been developing this treatment since 2014, in the past year they’ve made accelerated progress toward their vaccine. In July 2019, they published a paper in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reporting the results of a number of studies they did on the vaccine’s effects on 70 cats, showing that it successfully induced a sustained antibody response in the felines. They also noted that cat saliva samples contained lower concentrations of the allergenic protein, and that overall, the vaccine didn’t seem to harm the animals.  

Features of Hypocat Vaccine 2020

Saiba Animal Health’s most advanced project HypoCat™, is a vaccine to lower the allergenicity of cats experienced by humans. Fel d 1, a cat protein secreted into saliva and tears and found on pelt, is the principle allergen to which cat allergy sufferers react. Indeed, more than 80% of cat allergic patients have potent allergy-inducing IgE antibodies against this protein. It is known that decreasing exposure of allergic humans to Fel d 1 has a significant benefit on symptoms and health. Our innovative approach is to intervene “at the source“ i.e. lower allergenic Fel d 1 on the cat itself.

To achieve this we are developing a VLP-based vaccine to induce anti-Fel d 1 antibodies in the cat. HypoCat™, is a Fel d 1 virus-like particle conjugate vaccine that has been demonstrated to overcome the inherent immune-tolerance to self-molecules such as Fel d 1 and induce strong and lasting anti-Fel d 1 antibody responses in cats. These antibodies bind Fel d 1 and thus have the ability to lower or neutralize its allergenic effect in humans. The veterinary/medical and commercial potential of the HypoCat™ vaccine was recognized when the company won the Swiss Technology Award in 2013. Subsequently, in 2014, the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation awarded the company with a R&D grant to advance the HypoCat project. Development of HypoCat™ was further advanced through a commercialization, manufacture, and distribution agreement entered into with Benchmark Holdings PLC in September 2014. As part of this collaboration, pilot studies involving cats and human were completed and the first pivotal study commenced. Significant progress on a GMP manufacture process was also made. In 2020, the development and commercialization rights for HypoCat were transferred from Benchmark to a leading global animal health company.

Prices of Hypocat Vaccine 2020


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