The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for January 10, 2003

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.

>  KMG Chemicals, Inc. announced its acquisition of the Rabon insecticidal product lines of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., effective as of December 30, 2002.  As part of the transaction, KMG has also acquired the product registration for Ravap Insecticide Spray.  Both KMG and Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica will produce and market this spray composed of Rabon and other ingredients.  Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica will continue to market the product under its Ravap trademark.  Other assets acquired in the transaction include equipment, certain inventory, product registrations for other Rabon products, and other intangible assets. Financial terms were not disclosed.  (company press release)

>  Synbiotics Corporation announced that Paul Hays has joined the Company as President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Hays was also appointed to the Synbiotics Corporation Board of Directors. Mr. Hays brings eighteen years of experience in the animal health market. He was previously employed at Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. for approximately ten years where he served in various senior management positions.  Mr. Hays has also served on the Boards of the Animal Health Institute and the American Feed Industry Association. (Yahoo News)

>  Intervet has signed a research agreement with Oxford BioMedica to develop TroVAX-VET, an anti-cancer gene therapy for veterinary use.  The companies expect to progress the agreement to a license for product commercialization, including the option to acquire a number of other veterinary cancer products arising from Oxford BioMedica’s antigen discovery program.  (BioWorld International)

>  Merial and Vivalis, one of the world specialists in avian and mammalian embryonic stem cells,  announced the signing of an agreement covering a joint research program in the field of avian stem cells, Vivalis’ proprietary technology. This research program will provide an assessment of the ability of Vivalis stem cell lines to be used for Merial avian vaccine production. (company press release)

>  Innovative Veterinary Diets announced the launch of a new therapeutic dietary approach for dissolving struvite stones in cats. Based on rigorous clinical trials, new Feline Dissolution Formula in Gravy dissolves struvite stones and crystals in felines in 26 days on average. The unique chunk and gravy form provides increased moisture content that enhances palatability, while high-quality, easy-to-digest proteins from low ash protein sources and restricted magnesium help to produce the acidic urine needed for effective struvite dissolution. (company press release)

>  VCA Antech, Inc. announced that it filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with a secondary offering of 9.0 million shares of common stock.  VCA Antech, Inc. is undertaking this offering to redeem the entire $36.7 million principal balance of its 15.5% senior notes and for general corporate purposes. VCA Antech, Inc. will not receive any proceeds from the sale of the shares of common stock being offered by the selling stockholders. (Business Wire)

>  The Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the University of California-Davis announced the grand opening of the hospital’s new state-of-the-art Nutrition Support Center this past fall, funded by Nestle Purina Petcare. The Center is staffed with nutrition residents and a technician.  In addition to the Center at UC, Nestlé Purina has funded, designed and installed nutrition centers for veterinary teaching hospitals at Michigan State and Colorado State Universities. (company press release)

>  Animal Care Training (ACT) announced the release of their latest venture, the VetEd Tablet.  This innovative device includes portability and a wireless web connection, so the practitioner can hand-carry and use this tablet when examining patients, talking with clients, and processing medical records. The VetEd Tablet’s main features include access to current veterinary practice management software; physical examination templates; hospital consent forms; Hill’s Clinical Atlas; 5-Minute Veterinary Consult; 21 pet care videos; and 42 staff training videos. (company press release)


– NAVC Orlando Industry Overview is now approaching capacity for both sessions.  There are still a few spaces in the afternoon session, but don’t delay if you want to attend.  In addition to the Overview at the Western Veterinary Conference on February 19 in Las Vegas, we plan to hold additional overviews during the spring in various US cities if you are unable to make the Orlando meeting.

– Distributor Effectiveness Study – We’ve received positive responses from several firms on the study and look forward to starting the project shortly after the NAVC.  We plan to meet with several of you on your firms’ participation in the study at the NAVC. Do we have you scheduled for a meeting yet?

– Due Diligence Seminar – we will be conducting our next seminar in Kansas City on March 11 and 12, 2003, so block those dates if you want to attend.  We will provide complete details for the seminar in next week’s newsletter, at which time registration will be available on our website.


>  US   Governor Gray Davis and the USDA declared a state of emergency in California because Exotic Newcastle
Disease is threatening the state’s $3 billion poultry industry.
 The federal declaration expanded the quarantine zone to include all of Southern California, hours after the governor released money and manpower to combat the disease.  The outbreak has required the slaughter of more than 1.2 million chickens since it was discovered in December at the state’s commercial farms. (AnimalNet – AP)

>  HONG KONG   More than 10,000 chickens at a farm in Hong Kong may be infected with avian flu, according to officials. The warning came as 400 more birds were found dead at the farm January 6, taking the toll to more than 560. The Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food has said that the virus that killed the chickens was not the strain responsible for the deaths of six people in 1997. (Watt Poultry Global E-news)

>  US   The latest poultry export statistics from the USDA highlight the decline in export volume and revenue for broiler parts — predominantly leg quarters, which comprise 95% of the industry’s overseas shipments. Total export tonnage declined 3.5% from October 2001 to October 2002.  The impact on value was even more striking, declining 27%. (Meating Place)

>  US   After being forced out of the final legislation last year by House conferees, legislation banning packer ownership of livestock has been brought back to life. Two Democrats and two Republicans who advanced the bill last year reintroduced a new version of the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The new measure would prohibit packers from owning cattle or hogs more than seven days before slaughter and prohibits packers from forcing farmers into arbitration to settle livestock production contract disputes.  (Drovers Alert)

>  According to research at the University of Nebraska, bacteria commonly used in yogurt looks promising as a feed additive or a vaccine that can kill E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria in beef cattle. Feeding selected strains of the bacterium Lactobacillus acidophilus, commonly used in yogurt, reduced E. coli in manure 61% of the time. Nebraska researchers are also testing the use of Lactobacillus bacteria in conjunction with an experimental Lactobacillus vaccine developed by Canadian scientists. They are comparing the prevalence of E. coli in cattle that receive only Lactobacillus as a feed additive, the vaccine, and the vaccine and Lactobacillus in combination. (Reuters)


The holidays are over and we’re officially into 2003.  Sales and planning meetings for the New Year have been or will be conducted by most companies this month.  We wish all of you the best in attaining your goals and objectives for 2003. 

Many of this week’s items show that companies are already busy with new products and personnel, acquisitions and licensing.  This activity is good for the industry as it adapts to changing needs and strategies.  At the same time, old problems like Newcastle Disease and the debate over packer ownership continue to resurface, stressing the need to search for solutions to existing problems while anticipating the challenges of the future.

We thank each of you for all of your interest and support for our various activities.

Have a great weekend!
Ron Brakke

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