We’re keeping man’s best friend safe with a new snake antivenom developed in partnership with Padula Serums.

The challenge

Antivenom for dogs is expensive and not fully purified

The number of people that die from snake bites has dropped extensively in recent years thanks to antivenom developments. However, that rate of success has not been the same for pets.

CSIRO scientists worked with Padula Serums Pty Ltd, a small biotech company in regional Victoria to produce an antivenom to treat Eastern Brown and Tiger snake bites.  ©CSIRO, Carl Davies

Antivenom for animals has traditionally been expensive and even with treatment there is no guarantee your pet will survive.

Padula Serums have been working on a solution, an animal antivenom for Eastern Brown and Tiger snake bites that could take effect in a single injection. But they needed help scaling up their product to take it to market.

Our response

Concentrated antivenom for creatures great and small

Padula Serums was working on an antivenom with a greater success rate than existing options.

Padula Serums partnered with us to refine and improve the antivenom and manufacture on a larger scale using our state-of-the-art biologics production facility.

The result is a purified, concentrated and fully-tested antivenom, ready to be injected.

The new antivenom could also be produced for less cost than existing antivenoms, making the decision to treat an affected pet all the easier.

The results

Better treatment for less

[Music plays and text appears: Saving dogs from deadly snake bites]

[Image changes to show a dog and then two dogs play fighting]

Andrew Padula: Snake bite is a really big problem in Australia for animals.

[Image changes to show a snake, tongue out and moving slowly]

The dog-snake conflict it’s classic veterinary problem. It’s been estimated there’s over 6,000 cases of snake bite in animals in Australia each year.

[Image changes to show Andrew Padula, veterinarian]

[Image changes to show green hills and trees and then a herd of cows grazing]

I work in a geographic area where snake envenomation is quite a significant problem that we deal with. We need, as a veterinary profession, to be able to offer something a bit better than what is out there to our clients.

[Image changes to show different dogs playing, friendly barking can be heard]

[Image changes to show an outside shot of CSIRO building and then moves to show two people in a laboratory type setting]

I was fortunate that CSIRO were able to offer an excellent range of services and facilities that nicely complemented working with this biological material to convert it into a pharmaceutical product.

[Image changes to show people working within the laboratory]

[Image changes to show Prof George Lovrecz, CSIRO Researcher]

Prof George Lovrecz: So Andrew Padula approached us, because he had an interesting project in his mind to develop a new snake anti-venom, essentially, for dogs.

[Image has changed back to show two dogs play fighting]

Unfortunately dogs have only a 20 per cent chance to survive if they get bitten by a snake.

[Image changes to show a snake, tongue out and moving slowly]

This project became a nice collaborative arrangement between a small biotech company and CSIRO.

[Image has changed back to show people working within the laboratory type setting]

Our lab is really special and unique in the Australian landscape, because we’ve got licences not just to make experiments in a fully controlled way, but also to produce final products as well.

We were able to use the latest technologies, which made the anti-venom more effective and also, it made it even more cost effective compared to other drugs. Definitely it’s an advantage for the small biotech company who would like to sell it.

[Image changes to show a scientist working with a bottle of green liquid and small test container]

Andrew Padula: What we’ve shown with this product is it has some interesting, powerful, neutralising properties against the toxins contained in snake venoms such as the tiger snake and brown snake that cause blood clotting disturbances.

[Image has changed back to Andrew Padula]

The project has worked very well with CSIRO.

[Image has changed back to show two dogs play fighting and then back to the snake]

We have successfully developed a very efficient processing technology, which should flow on to benefits for veterinarians and, ultimately, pet owners at the end of the day.

[Music plays and CSIRO logo appears on screen beside text: Big ideas start here www.csiro.au]

Science saving dogs from deadly snake bites

The antivenom has now been given approval for sale from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

In 2019, we delivered more than 2000 vials to Padula Serums ahead of snake season.

Any pet bitten by a snake now has a greater chance to survive without the sudden expense of previous treatments.

The potential of this new treatment extends beyond pet antivenom; we are looking at using similar methods for the treatment of paralysing ticks and even viruses like Ebola.

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