Livestock News

First transgenic cattle pharm breaks ground in South Dakota


A first-of-its-kind greenfield biopharmaceutical production pharm is coming to South Dakota. SAB, founded in 2014, develops human antibody therapeutics utilizing plasma from transgenic cattle (TcBovine™).

“This is a historic day for SAB Biotherapeutics, South Dakota, and the bioscience industry,” said SAB Biotherapeutics president, CEO and co-founder Dr. Eddie Sullivan. “We’re excited to be utilizing this cutting-edge science, so proud of our dedicated team, and grateful for the confidence of our investors and support of our industry, state, and community–enabling us to forge a new path and make a global impact on human health.”

The TcBovine have been genetically designed to produce large amounts of natural human polyclonal antibodies when vaccinated against a target disease. To produce a therapeutic, the cattle are vaccinated against a particular disease in much the same way that humans receive a flu vaccination. Within a brief period of time, they produce significant amounts of fully human antibodies (a natural immune response). Plasma is collected from the cattle and purified in the company’s biomanufacturing facility to isolate the antibodies–thus becoming the therapeutic treatment for that disease.

Animal antibodies have been made in rabbits, sheep, and horses for use in humans. However, SAB’s platform is the first to produce fully human antibodies in any large animal species, like cattle. The 80-acre pharm is the first facility of its kind designed specifically for cattle. The greenfield construction phase will house current production animals with infrastructure to grow ten-fold.

“The pharm is a key component to owning the entire supply chain–from development through production–to improve efficiency and streamline operations while laying an important foundation for more rapid and expansive growth,” added Sullivan.

Phase I of the project includes a four-building complex with a total footprint of approximately 40,000 sq. ft. and four full-time employees caring for 40 animals. The buildings will be used for birthing and housing our TcBovine with areas specifically designed for plasma collection, research, veterinary care, feed, and equipment storage and offices. Phase 2, is planned over a number of years, and includes 8 buildings with more than 100,000 sq. ft., approximately 40 employees and 400 animals at full capacity.

“At full capacity, just 20 percent of production at the new facility could potentially supply the entire seasonal influenza market,” Sullivan added.

The company’s first two treatments are in clinical trials, with other infectious disease, oncology, and autoimmune targets in development.


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