PolyBatics Initiates Field Trial of First TB Skin Test Capable of Differentiating Vaccinated from Unvaccinated Animals

April 2, 2014

Technology Also Offers Potential for Human TB Tests, as Well as Animal and Human TB and Other Vaccines

PALMERSTON NORTH, New Zealand, April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — PolyBatics, Inc., whose novel biobead platform offers applications for diagnostics, antigen delivery/vaccines, bioseparations and many other uses, today announced the start of field trials of a unique tuberculosis (TB) skin test based on the company’s bionanoparticle technology. The PolyBatics Assign-bTB product is a DIVA (Differentiate Infected from Vaccinated Animals) TB skin test reagent and the first such test able to differentiate Mycobacterium bovis-infected animals from those vaccinated against bovine TB or exposed to other strains of Mycobacterium, lowering the incidence of false positives and reducing the need for confirmatory testing. PolyBatics said the same antigen-presenting biobead technology is also being developed to produce a similar human TB skin test as well as new TB vaccines for animal and human use that do not interfere with TB skin tests created using the same technology.


The field trial is being conducted over the next few months in New Zealand cattle under the leadership of TBfree New Zealand and the Hopkirk Research Institute. The DIVA skin test was developed in conjunction with Dr. Bryce Buddle, Adjunct Professor of Infectious Diseases, Hopkirk Research Institute and Principal Scientist, Infectious Diseases Team, AgResearch, using PolyBatics’ technology.

Dr. Paul Livingstone, Manager of TB Eradication and Research for TBfree New Zealand said, “We are pleased to be supporting this study using a cutting edge technology and in the process, reaffirming New Zealand’s place at the forefront of managing and eliminating tuberculosis in wild animals and in our farmed livestock.”

He continued, “The aim of the study is to compare the specificity of Assign-bTB, the reagent developed via PolyBatics’ technology, with the current tuberculin in selected non-infected herds and its sensitivity in infected herds. If successful, we expect use of Assign-bTB will reduce the number of false-positives to the skin test. This will reduce the need for re-testing which will, in turn, provide potential cost savings to the TB control program.”

“PolyBatics biobeads represent an ideal platform for either diagnostic or vaccine applications, given their unique ability to consistently display antigens of choice on the biopolymer nanobead surface and their low-cost single-step production,” said Tracy Thompson, PolyBatics Chief Executive Officer. He noted that PolyBatics had initiated a number of vaccine development programs over the past year, including programs in hepatitis, dengue fever and TB therapeutics.

About PolyBatics’ BioBead Technology

The PolyBatics technology allows biocompatible beads with specifically engineered proteins on their surface to be grown in microbial hosts. The beads can be manufactured using standard fermentation equipment at very low cost and may be tailored to perform a wide range of functions based on the nature of the proteins that are grown on the surface.

About PolyBatics, Inc.

PolyBatics’ revolutionary technology harnesses the natural power of cells to create natural polymer particles, or biobeads, covered with proteins engineered to perform specific functions. Since our inception in 2009, we’ve surpassed many milestones that demonstrate the platform’s usefulness in diagnostics and vaccines, affinity chromatography, biocatalysis and other applications.

Through all this, we’ve eliminated the toxic processes involved in the creation of immobilized proteins by creating them naturally, in bacteria, without using hazardous chemicals. Located in Palmerston North, New Zealand, PolyBatics was created to commercialize biobead technology created by Professor Bernd Rehm at Massey University. For more information on PolyBatics, please visit our website at http://www.polybatics.com.


Tracy Thompson, CEO
PolyBatics, Inc.
+64 (0)6 352 0200 (New Zealand)

For Media:

Joan Kureczka
Kureczka/Martin Associates
+1 (415) 821 2413

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SOURCE PolyBatics, Inc.

Source: PR Newswire

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