Thyreos Vaccines | A Solution for Animal & Human Health Markets


Thyreos Vaccines is a novel company developing prophylactic vaccines for neuroinvasive herpesvirus infections. Thyreos has been a member of The Combine Incubator program for a short four months.

The Thyreos team includes Co-founders Gary Pickard, Ph.D. Professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Ekaterina Heldwein, Ph.D. Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Tufts University, Gregory Smith, Ph.D. Professor in the department of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University, and CEO Eric Zeece.


What problem is Thyreos solving?

Thyreos develops herpesvirus vaccines and vaccine vectors for the animal health and human health markets. Thyreos vaccines are based on a recombinant herpesvirus platform that elicits robust immune responses without infecting the nervous system.

Herpes simplex viruses, known for causing cold sores and genital sores, are members of the herpesvirus family. This virus family also includes varicella-zoster virus, the causative agent of chickenpox and shingles, and many veterinary pathogens that share a unique property: the ability to robustly invade the nervous system and quietly reside there lifelong. Periodic reactivation of the latent infection results in the contagious shedding of infectious virus, which is often associated with mild or sometimes severe disease.


​All neuroinvasive herpesviruses are amendable to Thyreos R2 vaccine implementation.


How are you solving this problem?

Our innovative technology is a next-generation vaccine to protect people and our animals from neuroinvasive herpesvirus infections. Our proprietary technology selectively removes neuroinvasive potential by eliminating a viral component that is responsible for the transmission of these viruses into the nervous system. The component, R2, is named for region 2 of the pUL37 tegument protein. The neutered vaccines keep the nervous system pristine and free of viruses while fortifying the immune system with remarkable efficacy. No adjuvants or repeat vaccinations are necessary.

"A genetically edited form of a herpes simplex virus — rewired to keep it from taking refuge in the nervous system and eluding an immune response — has outperformed a leading vaccine candidate in a new study from the University of Cincinnati, Northwestern University and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln."​

- University of Nebraska-Lincoln

What's Thyreos' Roadmap?

The company’s roadmap includes the human-health market, but initial commercial opportunities are focused on the animal health space.

The commercialization of the Thyreos vaccine technology platform will significantly improve the

beef industry’s ability to protect against Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR), which is an economically significant respiratory disease caused by a herpesvirus. IBR has negative impacts beyond respiratory issues. It can also decrease milk production and fertility, and often leads to secondary bacterial infections, which is why an effective vaccine against bovine herpesvirus would be such an important breakthrough.


The Combine Incubator has been honored to work with Thyreos. It's exciting to work with ground-breaking technology, and the Thyreos team will be the ones who greatly improve vaccinations against herpesvirus. If you'd like to learn more, visit Thyreos' website: https://www.thyreosvaccines.com/

What is The Combine?

Invest Nebraska’s Combine Incubator is a statewide initiative focused on supporting high-growth agri-food entrepreneurs through mentoring, commercialization support, physical incubation space on Nebraska's Innovation Campus, and a network of supporting farmers and ranchers across the state. Invest Nebraska is a private, non-profit statewide venture development organization focused on high-growth companies in Nebraska and growing the state’s entrepreneurial economy. Invest Nebraska works directly with entrepreneurs, researchers, and companies to help commercialize their technologies, launch and grow new businesses, and access needed capital.