Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council grant supports food safety study

FLORHAM PARK, N.J., July 10, 2013 — Zoetis Inc., formerly the animal health business unit of Pfizer Inc., and The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, today announced a collaboration for research of Salmonella in cattle.

The Roslin Institute has received funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to support collaborative research with Zoetis that will bring valuable industry knowledge and input into its academic research program. For three years, the BBSRC will contribute 80 percent of funding for the study — close to $1 million — and Zoetis will not only provide the remaining 20 percent of funding but also provide in-kind services via research materials and expertise.

Researchers at The Roslin Institute and Zoetis will jointly investigate how Salmonella enters and persists within the bovine lymphatic system and can lead to contamination of beef for human consumption. The team of researchers from The Roslin Institute — which is incorporated within the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies — includes Professor Mark Stevens, PhD, chair of microbial pathogenesis; Professor John Hopkins, PhD, chair of veterinary immunology; and Jayne Hope, PhD, a leading researcher on bovine immunity and mycobacteria. They are collaborating with Charles Cornell, MS, technical lead for the Cattle Food Safety Vaccine franchise, Veterinary Medicine Research and Development at Zoetis. The BBSRC grant also provides funding for a postdoctoral researcher and a research technician for three years.

The Roslin Institute research team will work with Zoetis to help develop and implement solutions to reduce the prevalence of Salmonella in meat.

Salmonella infections in cattle are significant for two reasons,” Professor Stevens said. “It can cause gastroenteritis and abortion in the animals, thereby harming their productivity and welfare, and contamination of beef and the farm environment can lead to infections in people.

Cattle are a significant source of human Salmonella infections, he added. Although the animal’s lymphatic system normally helps fight infection, some types of Salmonella have adapted to evade the immune system and survive in lymph nodes.

“A key gap in our knowledge is how Salmonella enters the lymphatic system in the first place and then persists within it, constraining our ability to design strategies to control infection,” Professor Stevens continued. “We will examine the role of host and bacterial factors in this process and use the results of our research study to identify new and better targets that could help us control Salmonella infections in cattle.”

Funding from the BBSRC allows The Roslin Institute to work strategically with Zoetis on important Salmonella research in cattle, which impacts animal and human health and safety of the food supply across the globe, said Michelle Haven, DVM, PhD, senior vice president, Corporate Development, Alliances and Solutions at Zoetis.

Salmonella remains a health concern worldwide and is estimated to cause about 94 million cases of foodborne disease in humans and 155,000 deaths1 each year,” Dr. Haven said. “This study is fundamental for developing intervention strategies. We’re excited and committed to being at the forefront of these discoveries, working closely with our academic and industry partners, to identify issues and solutions for safe food now and in the future as we work together to feed the world’s growing population.”

Professor Stevens added that Zoetis is an ideal partner for Salmonella research.

“Zoetis will provide a link between our basic research and commercialization,” he said. “This study will add value to future studies at The Roslin Institute of other infectious diseases of food-producing animals.”

Zoetis has been an industry partner on a variety of research programs with the BBSRC since 2008 to help advance understanding of critical animal diseases and develop new solutions for those who raise food animals.

About Zoetis

Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting customers and businesses focused on raising and caring for livestock and companion animals. Building on a 60-year history as the animal health business of Pfizer Inc., Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. The company generated annual revenues of $4.3 billion in 2012. It has more than 9,300 employees worldwide and a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 29 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for livestock and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information, visit zoetisUS.com.

About The Roslin Institute

The Roslin Institute is a National Institute of Bioscience which receives Institute Strategic Program Grant funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). It is a part of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine of the University of Edinburgh.

The Institute undertakes research within the framework of BBSRC Institute Strategic Programs focused on the health and welfare of animals, and applications of basic animal sciences in human and veterinary medicine, the livestock industry and food security.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £500M (2012-2013), we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact, see: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk.

For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes, see: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/institutes.

For more information, Contact:

Wendy Elliot

Lindsey Langemeier
Bader Rutter & Associates

1 Majowicz SE, Musto J, Scallan E, et al. The Global Burden of Nontyphoidal Salmonella Gastroenteritis. Clin Infect Dis 2010;50(6);882-889.



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