SpayVac has developed a portfolio of single-dose, contraceptive vaccines aimed at reducing birth rates in wildlife without rebound population growth. SpayVac hopes to replace other, less humane methods of animal population control to address the growing problem of species overpopulation in feral cats, street dogs, horses, burros and other invasive and overabundant wildlife.
Interview with Thomas D’Orazio, CEO
What we do
Certain species reproduce at alarming rates. While current methods of population control are effective at curbing population growth in the short term, we have found that these animal populations bounce back and regions are once again, faced with the same issue. Our team has developed what we believe is a long term solution. Our vaccines deliver antigens and produce antibodies that prevent sperm from fertilizing the egg. With our birth control vaccine, we are able to control wildlife population in a humane way.
A lot has happened since we first launched SpayVac. As a result of the hard work, passion and the dedication of our team, we have:
- Gone to market and produced two batches of active and identical vaccines to begin our five round test runs that are necessary to get approval. Our vaccines are well on their way to yield consistent results every time.
- Received a grant from the Public Lands Council, an advocacy group that represents ranchers and sheepherders in the United States, to further develop the wild horse vaccine we’ve been working on. They also work closely with the American Cattlemen’s Association
- Been published and have presented our research at major wildlife conferences across North America
- Secured a deal for exclusive licensing to develop its cutting-edge vaccine emulsion and delivery technology for more species
Our biggest challenge:
Our biggest challenge to date has been accessing the capital we need to get to market or launch and securing the key commercial partnerships to join us in our missing of combat population explosions of unwanted wildlife species around the globe. Building a startup is challenging and we’ve learned it will always take longer and cost more than you initially expected.
Five years from now…
Next year, we hope to formulate a new vaccine for feral cats with full approval from the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). In 2021, we want to expand our geographical approvals to bring SpayVac vaccines to more locations around the world. We will continue to test and formulate vaccines for feral dogs and cats with the goal of launching both vaccines by 2023.
Why the New Ventures BC Competition
To date, the company has been bootstrapped by our founders. In order to launch our vaccine by 2020, we require additional funding to finalize our EPA registration. We also need to develop a QA assays in order to submit our product for approval. Winning the New Ventures BC Competition will give us the capital we need to reach our goals.
About the Founders
Dr. Ursula Bechert DVM, Ph.D. | Vice-President of Research & Development and Co-founder
Dr. Bechert is currently a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine where she heads the Graduate Research Program. She holds a Ph.D. in Animal Reproductive Endocrinology and has done research in the area of contraceptive vaccines. She has worked with SpayVac since 2004 on trials with African elephants and wild horses.
Mark Fraker, MS | Vice-President of Operations & Co-founder
Mr. Fraker is a career wildlife biologist. He is the co-inventor of SpayVac’s first vaccine. He initially worked with a group at Dalhousie University in 1998 conducting an 11-year trial with seals in Nova Scotia which demonstrated single-dose, long-term efficacy of SpayVac in mammals.
Mr. D’Orazio was formerly CEO of ImmunoPrecise Antibodies in Victoria, BC where he led a successful IPO. After meeting Mr. Fraker, they decided to form SpayVac for Wildlife with the purpose of commercializing a promising product portfolio.
Dr. Kroeger works on vaccine formulation, development of new vaccines and leads the development of QA assays with SpayVac. He was previously employed at ImmunoPrecise Antibodies where he ran a laboratory that developed monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins. Prior to working at ImmunoPrecise, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the BC Cancer Agency’s Deeley Research Centre in Victoria working on immunotherapies.
SpayVac is located in Sidney, BC