With a significant number of 41 patents obtained in the area of recombinant vaccine development, diagnosis of veterinary diseases, and formulations with antiparasitic action, Sibele Borsuk, coordinator of the Graduate Program in Biotechnology at the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel), sees closer the transformation of years of studies into innovation, with the possibility of products resulting from these advances reaching the market. The researcher’s performance was recognized with the Futuro da Terra Award in the Innovation and Rural Technology category.
A member of UFPel’s Technological Innovation Committee (CIT) and the Internal Biosafety Commission (CIBio), she leads the institution’s infectious-parasitic biotechnology research group, contributing to advances in an area that still needs to evolve.
Sibele points out that, about recombinant vaccines or third-generation vaccines, there is greater availability of technologies for pets and horses, which are high-value-added animals. “In the niche of production animals (poultry, pigs, sheep, goats, cattle), there are few methodologies available on the market, and, in addition, to have widespread use for the prevention of these diseases in these production species, they need to have a low cost,” he comments.
Its activities have focused on the Development of vaccines and diagnosis of veterinary diseases, with emphasis on caseous lymphadenitis (a condition that affects sheep and goats), bovine neosporosis (one of the leading causes of abortion in sheep), and canine toxocariasis (zoonosis transmitted by parasites shed by dogs in the environment).
In projects related to caseous lymphadenitis, the researcher points out that the results are promising: the group has already tested different types of recombinant vaccines (such as DNA, subunit, and vectorized vaccines) with excellent results in preclinical trials (in mice).
“About 30 vaccine formulations have already been tested with efficacy rates ranging from 30% to 100%. She adds that the ones with the best performance are evaluated in the target species (sheep and goats)”.
Within this project’s scope, the group has 17 patent registrations with the Brazilian Patent Office (BPTO), one of which was granted this year. “For neosporosis, the most important results are for the diagnosis where we standardized a diagnostic method based on the fluorescence polarization technique. It was registered with the BPTO, and we had the patent filed”, she adds. Regarding toxocariasis, the project aims to diagnose different species (including canine and bovine, in addition to analyzing human contact with the T. canis parasite), resulting in two more registered patents.
In total, the projects led by the researcher account for 41 patents (innovation privilege) in the area of Development of recombinant vaccines, diagnosis of diseases of veterinary importance, and formulations with antiparasitic action — of these, the BPTO granted four.
Sibele comments that the most important is related to the production of recombinant vaccines for caseous lymphadenitis. “The BPTO takes around ten years to assess whether the patent has unprecedented technology,” she explains. Only after this evaluation the grant is made to the holder (the institution where the research was carried out and the inventors, including the researcher responsible for the study).
“We have not yet launched any product resulting from the granted patents on the market, but the granting of four patents issued by the BPTO is a crucial step, which qualifies the patent as an innovation, granting its holder the exclusivity of use, commercialization, and production of a certain technology in Brazil,” he explains. “The next step is the search for companies in diagnosing and producing vaccines,” concludes Sibele.
The researcher has been a Research Productivity Scholar in Biotechnology since 2014. She has been an advisor twice for theses and was awarded the Capes de Thesis Award in 2017. She has produced over 80 scientific articles in international journals and three books in recent years. She has already supervised 21 Scientific Initiation students with grants from development agencies, 15 masters, and 14 doctors.
Source: Jornal do Correio