The Barber’s Pole worm is a parasite that infects sheep and goats. In hot countries its impact on sheep farming can be devastating, with entire flocks wiped out. In Australia the parasite costs the sheep industry up to $150 million AUD annually.
After 20 years of research, Barbervax® the first vaccine for the Barber’s Pole worm was developed. Although the process was successful at lab-scale, eight years were spent unsuccessfully trying to synthesise the vaccine so that it could be produced in large enough volumes to be commercially viable.
A bespoke solution was required. Using an iterative design process, a commercial scale production system – consisting of three reliable, cost-effective, semi-automated machines – was designed and developed.
When launched in Australia in 2014 the first 300,000 production-run sold out. Since then, production has leapt to 2.5 million doses and 500,000 sheep were vaccinated in 2017-18. With the sheep worth up to $85 million AUD, the vaccine is protecting flocks and protecting farmers’ livelihoods.
Eight people are now employed to keep up with demand and the vaccine has also launched in South Africa, with other markets planned.