Design consultancy: 4c
Advertiser: Moredun Research Institute/Wormvax

"When we started this project we didn't know if it could be done. 4c have designed practical machines that have enabled the creation of a new international business/'

Dr David Smith

Executive Summary

Barber's Pole worm is a parasitic nematode that infects the gut of sheep and goats in hot, humid climates. For farmers in such regions an infestation can be economically devastating as these blood-sucking, treatment resistant parasites spread quickly causing anaemia and ultimately death of entire flocks.

The Problem

After 20 years of research, Dr David Smith's team of veterinary scientists at Edinburgh's Moredun Research Institute had developed the first vaccine for the Barber's Pole worm. Making the vaccine involves grinding up worms taken from the stomachs of dead sheep. Although the process was successful at lab-scale, to be commercially viable a production process and equipment needed to be designed which could operate at the same rate as Australian abattoirs. No equipment capable of the task was available and a bespoke solution was required. 4c were engaged by Dr Smith to design and build a commercial production system that could harvest the worms and bottle the vaccine in a way that would be reliable, cost-effective and semi-automated.