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Ovagen Group Limited Announce the Launch of the World’s First Germ-Free Egg

  • This innovative and disruptive technology will set a new ‘gold standard in the market’ eliminating bacterial contamination and potential for increased viral yield in egg based vaccine manufacture
  • This ground-breaking development will support the manufacturing of vaccines and scientific research
  • These bacteria, or ‘germfree’, eggs will be available for commercial sale in Q2 this year

25 April 2022, Ballina, Mayo, Ireland: Biotechnology company Ovagen Group Limited has today announced the achievement of the world’s first bacteria free (‘germfree’) eggs. These eggs are from a bacteria free flock of birds, and for use in the production of human and animal vaccine manufacture and in cutting edge scientific research. 

Chicken eggs have been in clinical use for vaccine manufacture and biopharmaceutical research for over 100 years. However, bacterial contamination of eggs has always been a problem for the vaccine industry. This has now been addressed by Ovagen’s multi-skilled research team. 

Ovagen’s superior quality germfree eggs will therefore set a new gold standard in the market. The biology of germfree eggs may also allow much greater viral yield of certain vaccines. These Germ Free eggs will be available for commercial sale in Q2 2022.

Dr. Catherine Caulfield, Ovagen CEO, commented: “The achievement of germfree eggs is the result of over a decade of research & development for Ovagen, and represents a great advancement of our technology. I would like to sincerely thank our committed and dedicated team for their part in developing this world’s first innovative and disruptive technology.” 

Dr. Leonard Moran, Ovagen Chairman and experienced entrepreneur, said: “Vaccine and biopharmaceutical medicine is a key part of human health, as evidenced by the Covid-19 pandemic. I am really pleased that Ovagen will play such an important role in advancing the science in this area.”

European Research funding, through Horizon 2020, and shareholder matched funds have been instrumental in allowing Ovagen take the product from proof of concept to germ free eggs available for customer evaluation. The company is now poised for scale up and commercialisation.

Kevin Burke, National Director for Horizon Europe at Enterprise Ireland said, “This is very positive news for Dr. Caulfield and her team at Ovagen Group. Ovagen Group’s engagement with the European Framework Programmes and the award of competitive funding under the SME Instrument has significantly progressed the company’s research and innovation ambitions to advance commercialisation and its position to scale. 

“The SME Instrument Programme has been succeeded by the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Programme in Horizon Europe. Enterprise Ireland encourages all innovative Irish start-ups and SMEs to closely look at the opportunities under the EIC and the wider Horizon Europe Programmes to support their innovation and scale-up ambitions.”

About Ovagen Group Limited. Ballina, Mayo, Ireland. 

Ovagen Group Limited is an innovation-based biotechnology company, led by experienced entrepreneurs, providing specialist contract products and services to the biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical and vaccine industries. The companyhas developed a proprietary process of producing Germ Free chicken eggs and Germ Free birds in commercial quantities for use primarily in the pharmaceutical industry.

For more information, please contact:

Peg Connor (Administrative Office Manager):

  • Tel: + 353 (0)96 75579
  • Email: info@ovagen.com
  • Web: www.ovagen.ie

EU Funding Enables Ovagen to Tackle Global Vaccine Market

*THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE WAS POSTED ON HORIZON EUROPE WEBSITE ON DECEMBER 6TH 2022*

TO LINK TO THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE PLEASE CLICK HERE

Vaccine manufacturing has never been more to the forefront of the news than in recent years. With everyone acutely aware of how vital vaccines are, Irish biotech firm Ovagen Group Ltd. has good news. With the support of €3.4m in European Research and shareholder matched funding, the company has succeeded in producing a world-first product that can significantly boost the global production of vaccines.

Fertilised chicken eggs play a central role in vaccine manufacture. In fact, vaccine  manufacturers use more than a billion eggs a year, with the market forecast to grow by more than 8 percent per year over the next four years.

Contamination is a major problem when it comes to using eggs, with vaccine companies typically losing millions of euro a year as a result. Contaminated batches result in delays to market for manufacturers who may miss peak epidemic or the entire vaccine season in the case of influenza.

Ovagen has developed the world’s first 100% bacteria-free eggs for use in the production of human and animal health vaccines, biotechnology applications and in cutting-edge scientific research.

“There’s a huge global opportunity for our product, which is superior to existing products on the market,” explains Ovagen co-founder and CEO Dr Catherine Caulfield. “Prior to Covid, more than one-billion eggs were required for vaccine manufacture and this figure is set to increase substantially. Ovagen’s superior-quality, germ-free eggs will set a new gold standard in the market and the biology of germ-free eggs may also allow much greater viral yield to produce certain vaccines.” 

Egg-based vaccines remain vitally important

While mRNA vaccines have become increasingly topical as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, egg-based vaccines continue to have a major role to play in the battle against Covid and other diseases, says Dr Caulfield.

“As the saying goes, no one is vaccinated until everyone is vaccinated. Egg-based vaccine manufacture is well established for almost 100 years and it is a much cheaper process than other methods. We do not plan to replace mRNA or cell-based vaccines, but to give the market a third and valuable option that is inexpensive, rapidly scalable and capable of producing multiple vaccines, including Coronavirus, from germ-free eggs while benefitting from reduced contamination and increased viral yield.”

She adds that the pandemic has markedly increased the need for eggs for use in vaccine manufacture. “One manufacturer in Latin America, for example, says it will need 50 million eggs a year going forward for the manufacture of Covid vaccines. Another global vaccine manufacturer we spoke with needed two million eggs a year and now it’s six million.”

EU funding enabling germ-free egg production

In 2019 Ovagen received European funding through the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument programme. This enabled the company to move from proof of concept to having a market-ready product for customer evaluation. Ovagen has recently been awarded European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator funding of €10 million between Grant and Equity, placing the company in the top 7% of European companies who applied in the funding round. This funding will allow the company demonstrate all the benefits of germ-free eggs, scale up production and commercialise the business to serve a global market.

Dr Caulfield explains it would have been very difficult to develop the product without the Horizon funding, as the project was early-stage and high-risk.

“It took about 10 years of R&D to get us to proof of concept and we were struggling to secure sufficient funding, beyond what we had put in ourselves, to take the product to the next phase of development. This project perhaps may have failed or would certainly have taken an awful lot longer if we hadn’t received the European funding. It was instrumental.”

Ovagen expects to increase its current workforce of 12 to 75 by 2026, by which time the company plans to produce 4 million germ-free eggs annually.

“They will be highly skilled jobs across sales, marketing, business development, IT, finance, engineering, HR and scientist roles in the West of Ireland. We developed our previous company from meagre beginnings to a very successful global business [Biolabs, bought in 2002 by Charles River Laboratories] and it’s lovely to be at the stage now in Ovagen where we are building this business to be global.”

Crucial need for strict project management

Companies that succeed in securing EU funding need to track all Project-associated expenditure, achieve the pre-determined milestones and deliverables and manage the Project competently within the allocated timelines, says Dr Caulfield. “The financial audit is a really thorough audit carried out by independent auditors at the end of the Project and you need strict policies and procedures in place to deal with that.”

“It is a good idea to get advice and training, if needed, at the beginning of your project on the best way to capture the information week by week for ease of reporting and audit. It would be very difficult to catch up if you don’t keep on track with capturing the data and tracking the work packages, deliverables and finances.”

This diligence must extend to risk management, data management, and regulatory and ethical compliance where appropriate, she adds.  

Avail of support to secure funding 

Support from Enterprise Ireland was a critical factor in guiding the management team through the process and successfully securing Horizon 2020 funding, says Dr Caulfield. Ovagen got advice from Enterprise Ireland on every aspect of its applications, including the written proposals and pitch presentations. The company also benefitted from the support of three mentors, during the Project phase, who advised on strategy, sales and marketing, and lean principles. 

“No matter how experienced you are, it’s not a simple process and it is very competitive. To get the pitch right, every word has to be impactful and you can be asked questions about any aspect by the selected jury. Enterprise Ireland sets up a mock pitch to put you through your paces beforehand by a panel of jurists. It’s absolutely invaluable and I’ve no doubt contributed in a big way to our success on both occasions.”

She adds that Ovagen also took the advice to appoint a specialist consultant in grant funding to help with its application. “While they assisted with the proposal application they were a particular help with posting our proposal on the European funding portal. It’s a complex enough system until you get familiar with it.” 

If you would like advice about accessing Horizon Europe support or further details, please contact horizonsupport@enterprise-ireland.com or visit www.horizoneurope.ie  

We are Hiring – Poultry Veterinarian

Who We Are – Ovagen Group Limited

We are an innovation based biotechnology company that has developed a proprietary process of producing the world’s first Germ Free eggs, for use in vaccine manufacture and other pharmaceutical and research applications.  Germ free eggs are the highest quality products available to produce medicines like vaccines, reducing contamination and the need for antimicrobials, as well as improving sustainability and having a positive environmental impact.

As the first company in the world to produce commercial quantities of Germ Free eggs from  our state-of-the-art avian facility, we have recently been awarded €10M funding by the European Commission and plans are in place to build two additional Germ Free production facilities and a logistics building to scale-up  production.

At Ovagen, we pride ourselves on scientific excellence, and we are passionate about the impact of our disruptive technology in transforming the way vaccines are produced to give security of supply and improve global immunisation coverage.

About the position

Our commercialisation plans are now being accelerated.  Additionally, a series of studies over the next year are likely to show additional key advantages of Germ Free eggs, further increasing product demand.

This position of Poultry Veterinarian is a key appointment and the successful candidate will report directly to the Senior Project Director in our HQ in Ballina, County Mayo.

Key responsibilities include;

  • Support the Senior Project Director in scale-up of Germ Free egg production.
  • Responsible for day to day operations and regulatory compliance of the department.
  • Responsible for planning and co-ordination of scheduled procedures.
  • Responsible for biosecurity and microbiological status in compliance with SOPs and Pharmacopeial requirements and for dissemination of results.
  • Responsible for the preparation, revision of and compliance with SOPs.
  • Collaborate internally with other divisions, support services and Company management to achieve goals and targets and shared Company KPI’s.
  • Presentations at conferences and to customers.
  • Host on-site customer/regulatory authority visits.

The successful candidate will;

  • Have a veterinary degree recognised by Veterinary Council of Ireland
  • Have SPF/Germ Free experience of working with isolators
  • Have 5+ years’ experience of working with poultry
  • Have strong oral and written communication skills with an ability to effectively communicate to various functional groups in the organization
  • Be a Team Player who can collaboratively work with cross-functional groups
  • Have high energy and resilience level, team building skills and an ability to anticipate and address potential technical issues
  • Have experience of working in a regulated environment
  • Have strong IT skills i.e. very familiar with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Have experience of establishing and maintaining poultry production, nutrition and genetic management programmes

What we Offer

This is a key role in Ovagen, and as such, the successful candidate will enjoy a generous package befitting this. 

This is an opportunity to join Ovagen Group at an exciting time when we are poised for dynamic growth.

If you are interested in applying to the role, please send your CV and covering letter to info@ovagen.com

We are Hiring – Business Development Director

Who We Are – Ovagen Group Limited

We are an innovation based biotechnology company that has developed a proprietary process of producing the world’s first Germ Free eggs, for use in vaccine manufacture and other pharmaceutical and research applications.  Germ free eggs are the highest quality products available to produce medicines like vaccines, reducing contamination and the need for antimicrobials, as well as improving sustainability and environmental impacts.

We also specialise in avian transgenic technology and have a fully equipped transgenic laboratory.

As the first company in the world to produce commercial quantities of Germ Free eggs from  our state-of-the-art avian facility, we have recently been awarded €10M funding by the European Commission and plans are in place to build two additional Germ Free production facilities and a logistics building, to scale-up  production to four million Germ Free eggs annually.

At Ovagen, we pride ourselves on scientific excellence, and we are passionate about the impact of our disruptive technology in transforming the way vaccines are produced to give security of supply and improve global immunisation coverage.

About the position

Our commercialisation plans are now being accelerated. Additionally, a series of studies over the next year are likely to show additional key advantages of Germ Free eggs, increasing product demand.

This position of Business Development Director is a new appointment and the successful candidate will report directly to the Company CEO.   

Key responsibilities include;

  • Development of sales and marketing strategy, along with associated implementation plans.
  • Relationship management with existing and potential customers.
  • Market research, analysis and segmentation – for GF sales strategy development.
  • Budget and sales target management.
  • Negotiation and development of long term commercial agreements with customers.
  • Building, developing and managing a strong Business Development team.
  • Identifying and developing new business opportunities for the Company.

The successful candidate will;

  • Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Have experience in B2B sales within a highly regulated international life sciences sector, and be comfortable with scientific and technical content.
  • Be able to build and maintain strong relationships with both internal and external stakeholders.
  • Have excellent financial and negotiation skills.
  • Be highly attuned to customer discovery and market analysis, identification of unmet needs and direction of marketing plans.
  • Be educated to Degree level in a business or science related field or similar technical discipline.
  • Have 5+ Years of senior sales and business development experience in the international life sciences industry, with a proven track record of success.
  • Have good knowledge of the vaccine manufacturing industry technologies, players and processes.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communications and presentation skills.
  • Proven relationship building and management experience, including effective stakeholder management expertise.

Whilst experience in the international vaccine industry is not a requirement, it would be a significant advantage.

What we Offer

This is a senior commercial role, and as such, the successful candidate will enjoy a generous package befitting this. 

Whilst our Company Headquarters are in Ballina, County Mayo – we will consider hybrid and international working arrangements.
This is an opportunity to join Ovagen Group at an exciting time when we are poised for dynamic growth.

If you are interested in applying to the role, please send your CV and covering letter to info@ovagen.com

We are Hiring – Operations Director

Who We Are – Ovagen Group Limited

We are an innovation based biotechnology company that has developed a proprietary process of producing the world’s first Germ Free eggs, for use in vaccine manufacture and other pharmaceutical and research applications. Germ free eggs are the highest quality products available to produce medicines like vaccines, reducing contamination and the need for antimicrobials, as well as improving sustainability and environmental impacts.  We also specialise in avian transgenic technology and we have a fully equipped transgenic laboratory.

As the first company in the world to produce commercial quantities of Germ Free eggs, from  our state-of-the-art avian facility, we have recently been awarded €10M funding by the European Commission and plans are in place to build two additional Germ Free production facilities and a logistics building, with which we will scale production to four million Germ Free eggs annually.

At Ovagen, we pride ourselves on scientific excellence, and we are passionate about the impact of our disruptive technology in transforming the way vaccines are produced to give security of supply and improve global immunisation coverage.

About the position

Our commercialisation plans are now being accelerated. Additionally, a series of studies over the next year are likely to show additional key advantages of Germ Free eggs, greatly increasing product demand.

This position of Operations Director is a key appointment and the successful candidate will report directly to our CEO in our HQ in the beautiful town of Ballina, County Mayo.

Key responsibilities include;

  • Managing the scale up of Ovagen’s production operation to support the Company in delivering on our ambitious plans to service the global vaccine industry.
  • Building, leading & developing a strong production operations team.
  • Ensuring that production is operating in accordance with best practice and in accordance with relevant regulations.
  • Ensuring that Germ Free egg production and shipments are delivered on time, to budget and in accordance with customer requirements.
  • Delivery on quality, efficiency and cost, whilst maintaining ‘Germ Free’ status.
  • Providing key operational and strategic input towards Ovagen’s business plan. This will include key operational input into our global expansion plans.
  • Supporting grant applications and financial management activities.
  • Representing the business at international conferences and client meetings.

The successful candidate will;

  • Have strong operational management experience in a highly regulated environment, preferably life sciences, and with a track record of success. 5 years +
  • Be educated to Degree level in an engineering, science or business related field.
  • Be comfortable managing all aspects of operations – from ground floor to board reporting.
  • Have strong leadership skills, including organisational development, team building, relationship building and effective stakeholder management.
  • Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Have solid strategic and planning capability alongside a strong business acumen.

Whilst experience of operations in a Life Sciences facility is not a requirement, it would be a significant advantage.

What we Offer

This is a senior commercial and operational role, and the successful candidate will enjoy a generous package befitting of this.  This is an opportunity to join a positive and dynamic team at Ovagen Group, at an exciting time when we are poised and ready for growth.

If you are interested in applying to the role, please send your CV and covering letter to info@ovagen.com

Ovagen Group Limited secures €10 million funding award from EIC Accelerator fund.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

  • Second time in 3 years Ballina-based company has received EIC Accelerator funding
  • Follows the announcement of developing the world’s first bacteria free (‘germfree’) eggs in April.
  • Positions Ovagen as a potential world-leader in the production of germ-free eggs,

22nd June 2022, Ballina, Mayo, Ireland – Biotechnology company Ovagen Group Limited has again been awarded European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator funding, thanks to a €10 million funding award from the European Commission supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB), putting Ovagen in the top 7% of European companies who applied in this funding round.

The firm, which has its headquarters in Ballina in the west of Ireland, has been awarded a €2.5 million grant from the Horizon EIC Accelerator Programme, and a €7.5 million equity investment supported by the European Investment Bank. 

This latest grant from the EIC follows a €2.36M EIC grant which Ovagen was awarded in 2019.

“To receive funding at this significant level is a major endorsement of the value of Ovagen’s germ free eggs to the vaccine and biopharmaceutical industry, and of our strong track record of delivery on the previous EIC Grant,” Ovagen CEO and Co-Founder Dr. Catherine Caulfield, said. “Germ free eggs have been developed and are on the market, and this funding will allow us to demonstrate all their benefits and to scale-up and commercialise the business.”

Ovagen has developed the world’s first, bacteria free (‘germ free’), eggs.  Germ free eggs will be used in the production of human and animal vaccines, biotechnology applications and in cutting edge scientific research. Ovagen’s superior quality germ free eggs will set a new gold standard in the market and the biology of germ free eggs may also allow much greater viral yield to produce certain vaccines.

 “The EU funding is a game changer for Ovagen,” Ovagen Chairman, Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder Dr. Leonard Moran said. “It has arrived at exactly the right time to allow us to scale up rapidly to meet customer demand with commercial production volumes.”

“This validates the 10 year’s research and development it has taken to get to this point,” Ovagen Senior Project Director Dr. Martin Murphy said. “but we now have the opportunity to impact millions of patient’s lives by supporting the production of better medicines”

ENDS

About Ovagen Group Limited. Ballina, Mayo, Ireland.

Ovagen Group Limited is an innovation-based biotechnology company, led by experienced entrepreneurs, providing specialist contract products and services to the biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical and vaccine industries. The company has developed a proprietary process of producing Germ Free chicken eggs and Germ Free birds in commercial quantities for use primarily in the pharmaceutical industry.

For more information, please contact:

Peg Connor (Administrative Office Manager):

  • Tel: + 353 (0)96 75579
  • Email: info@ovagen.com
  • Web: www.ovagen.ie