Office for Technology Commercialization

Lawsonia Intracellularis Antigens for Livestock Vaccination

Technology #20120131

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Lawsonia IntracellularisLivestock VaccinationVaccine Development
Connie Gebhart, PhD
Assistant Professor, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
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Managed By
BJ Haun
Technology Licensing Officer

Livestock Vaccination from Lawsonia Intracellularis Antigens

A gene region from Lawsonia intracellularis has been identified that contains highly expressed potential antigens for diagnostic or vaccine development for livestock. Lawsonia intracellularis is a fastidious intracellular bacterium that causes an intestinal hyperplasic disease characterized by thickening of the mucosa of the intestine due to enterocyte proliferation. Vaccines produced from these markers could become the best-in-class option for livestock vaccination. Farmers would be quick to adopt these vaccines because their cost is far outweighed by that of infected livestock.

Need for Lawsonia Vaccine Development

Lost production due to infection is a major cost for the livestock industry every year. Lawsonia intracellularis is a bacterium that causes infections in many mammalian species, but especially pigs. Lawsonia infections stunt growth and cause mortality, downgrading the value of the herd. There are Lawsonia vaccines available on the market, but they have not been 100% effective, and thus the problem persists. Lawsonia infections are at an endemic level, but an improved vaccine has the potential to significantly lower the prevalence of infection.


  • Vaccine developed against Lawsonia intracellularis would reduce mortality of mammals and risk of stunted growth due to infection
  • Novel targets for L. Intracellularis vaccine
  • Market pull for development of better vaccines - Current vaccines are not 100% effective
  • Diagnostics or vaccines could limit lost production due to infection
  • High infection rate of pigs in the U.S.
  • Endemic status in pigs and a rising concern in horses
  • Majority of U.S. herds are infected