Soymeds, Inc., a North Carolina firm, is working on edible vaccines using soybeans for both livestock and humans. It has five products in the pipeline; the farthest along is an anti-diarrhea vaccine for cattle. Company researchers anticipate that the future vaccines will be less expensive to produce than traditional products. And, since the vaccines will be stored as either ground soy meal or soymilk, they’ll feature a long shelf life.

Meanwhile, Apothecus Pharmaceutical Corp., has received a patent for an oral film that can deliver medication to animals. The dissolvable film is put into the animal’s mouth, where it becomes tacky and difficult to dispel. The medication’s active ingredients are quickly absorbed directly through the cheek membranes without having to pass through the digestive system.