Biologics Center To Carry Out Nutrition R&D

The South Dakota Center for Biologics Research and Commercialization (CBRC) will receive over $3.8 million for a five-year R&D partnership from the Governor’s Research Center Program. The partnership was established by the South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota. Started a year ago with a planning grant from the South Dakota Governor’s Office on Economic Development, the project focuses on the treatment and prevention of gastrointestinal disorders by developing products to improve bacterial balance in the digestive tract.

Researchers from the basic biomedical sciences department at the USD Sanford Medical School and the veterinary and biomedical sciences, health and nutritional sciences and biology and microbiology departments of SDSU will work on the team, along with industry scientists Stephen Hermann and Hasmukh Patel.

Much of the center’s initial work will concentrate on ways to improve health and nutrition by developing probiotics, diagnostic reagents and tests, vaccines, nutraceuticals and immunotherapies. The vaccine development work will likely prioritize influenza. Head of the SDSU Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Jane Christopher-Hennings said that the goal was a universal vaccine, as it could cross subtypes and species.

Another aim is to provide economic growth for South Dakota through value-added agriculture and agribusiness. The products developed will be licensed and commercialized by industry partners, who have contributed $1.7 million in sponsored research agreements.

While the initial work will carry on projects that have already been established, ongoing work will address the need for alternatives to antibiotics. The products developed will provide physicians and veterinarians with alternatives. Furthermore, despite the work currently involving terrestrial animal production, working with aquaculture species may be a possibility in the future.

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