The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for September 15, 2000

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
Company News Releases

> Intervet introduced PRISIM (Performance Report for Integrating Solutions in Management), a program providing feedlot managers with a comprehensive performance analysis tool.  The program includes 20 parameters that allow feedlot managers to predict cattle growth and performance.  The program will be licensed to Intervet feedlot customers, beef industry consultants and nutritionists.  (Feedstuffs)

>  Merial announced that it has received approvals from the EPA to market FRONTLINE Plus for Dogs and FRONTLINE Plus for Cats in the United States. These new products combine an adulticide (fipronil) and insect growth regulator (s-methoprene) for complete flea control and broad-spectrum tick protection for dogs and cats.  Like other FRONTLINE brand products, FRONTLINE Plus is a spot-on flea and tick preventive.  Merial intends to introduce FRONTLINE Plus into other countries around the world as soon as possible, subject to local regulatory approvals. (company website)

>  Applied Molecular Evolution, Inc. announced that it has granted a non-exclusive sublicense to IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. for Applied Molecular Evolution’s (AME’s) Kauffman patents for directed evolution.  IDEXX plans to use the Kauffman patents to develop diagnostic applications. The Kauffman patent family comprises six issued U.S. patents with claims covering methods of stochastically generating proteins, which AME believes is required by many directed evolution technologies.  (PRNewswire)

> Degussa-Huls announced construction of a plant for the production of mercaptopurine at its site in Wesseling, Germany.  Mercaptopurine is a raw material for the manufacture of the feed additive methionine.  The plant will have an annual capacity of 50,000 tons and will begin production in 2002. (company website)

>  Heska Corporation announced that it has received partial summary judgment in the litigation brought by Synbiotics Corporation, which claims that Heska’s feline and canine heartworm diagnostic products infringe one of their patents. The court’s ruling concluded that “Claims 1 and 6 of United States Patent No. 4,789,631 are invalid as a matter of law” because they “are anticipated by a prior art reference.”  The judge’s decision removes those claims from the case. (PRNewswire)

>  Synbiotics Corporation made the following comment regarding a partial summary judgment against two of its claims in its patent infringement lawsuit with Heska Corporation. “The Synbiotics patent claims in today’s ruling relate only to the minor business of feline heartworm tests. Today’s decision has nothing to do with the primary reason for bringing this lawsuit: infringement of Claim 5 by Heska’s canine heartworm products. Infringement of claim 5 is where the significant monetary damage lies. The court has already denied Heska’s motion to remove this matter from the case, and we remain confident we can prove that their canine heartworm test infringes claim 5.” (BW HealthWire)

>  Sergeant’s Pet Products, Inc. announced that Sowell & Co., an investment firm based in Dallas, Texas, has acquired the business operations of Sergeant’s from ConAgra, Inc. in an asset transaction.  Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.  Sergeant’s will become Sowell & Co.’s third acquisition in the rapidly growing and consolidating pet supplies industry.  Pet Life Foods, Inc. and Gaines Pet Food of Canada are Sowell’s other pet related firms.  Following the acquisition, Sergeant’s will take on the name Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Inc.  Following the acquisition of Sergeant’s, the current management will remain in place. (PRNewswire)

> Biopure Corporation announced that it would make available a proprietary laboratory test that detects the presence of its oxygen therapeutic drugs in human and animal blood.  The test, which was developed to monitor how the body clears and metabolizes the company’s hemoglobin-derived drugs, can be used to identify unauthorized or inappropriate use of these products, including their use as performance-enhancing agents in competitive athletes and racing animals. (PRNewswire)

> Farnam Livestock Products announced the availability of One Day Response, a new supplement designed to facilitate recovery of calves suffering from dehydration in two treatments.  The product contains fiber, electrolytes and three energy sources.  (FeedStuffs)

>  Milk Products announced the acquisition of the Sav-a-Caf dry/powder animal health business from INTAGRA Inc.  The purchase includes all Sav-A-Caf scours and electrolyte products, colostrums and direct-fed microbials, as well as a full line of small-package milk replacers.  The acquisition follows a 1996 joint marketing agreement for this product line.  INTAGRA will continue to manufacture and sell its liquid animal health products.  (company website)

>  Alltech Inc. has been granted a patent from the US Patent Office for MTB-100, a product designed to bind mycotoxins in animal feed.  The patent includes the process of harvesting the ingredients from yeast cells as well as the inclusion of the product in animal feed.  (Feedstuffs)

>  Balchem Encapsulates announced that they have been granted a patent for developing the technology to increase milk production in lactating dairy cows.  Their REASHURE Choline product incorporates this patented technology to effectively deliver essential nutrients needed for liver metabolism and fat processing during the transition period of dairy cows.  The results include overall improvement of herd health through a decrease in metabolic disorders and heightened animal productivity through an increase in milk production.  In the past year, field results confirm that cows fed REASHURE showed a substantial improvement in milk yield of up to nine pounds daily. (PRNewswire)

> is a dedicated pet site offering “Ask the Pet Expert,” where visitors to the site can ask questions of experts, sign up as experts and answer questions.  All the answers on ’Ask the Pet Expert’ are given by real people allowing follow-up questions to be asked if more information is needed — unlike search engines that do not tailor an answer to your question but just show you where you may be able to find an answer. Registered experts range from vets to those with experience of looking after their own animals.  All answers are rated by the registered users of the service, the best rated answers are eligible for cash rewards and the highest rated experts every 90 days are awarded bonus prizes. (PRNewswire)

>  AgSpan is a new company offering an innovative, interactive, information-driven marketing network that unites buyers and sellers from all segments of the beef industry.   Feedyards and integrated beef systems can now have access to the kinds and quantities of cattle their production systems demand; and the cow-calf operators can now be rewarded for producing the cattle that meet the demand.  AgSpan cattle are delivered to the feedyard with certification from the AgSpan network of veterinarians that documents the history, the animal health background and other critical information about the cattle.  The AgSpan system also allows feedyard and integrated beef system members to share important performance and carcass data, as well as other production information with other AgSpan members, including cow-calf producers. (company press release)


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Animal Health News

>  Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry does not plan to reintroduce foot-and-mouth vaccination in a key ranching state recently hit by the disease because this would cause unacceptable delays in the international recognition of its health status. Brazil’s most southerly state, Rio Grande do Sul, reported outbreaks of the dreaded disease last month, the first time foot-and-mouth resurfaced in the region in nearly seven years. The total slaughter of animals considered at risk from the disease now stands at 1,272 cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. (Reuters)

>  The British government was cited as confirming two more cases of swine fever in eastern England on Monday, taking to 10 the number of animals infected in the latest outbreak of the disease. A ministry spokesman was cited as saying that both new cases appeared to be linked to previous cases.  (AnimalNet – Reuters)

>  AniGenics Inc. announced that it will use the newest and most complete map to-date comparing the genomes of humans and cattle to develop new genetic markers for production traits in cattle and new drug targets for the human healthcare and veterinary markets.  This map will provide scientists with a more accurate means to identify and locate novel genes and genetic markers. (PRNewswire)

>  After more than a year of negotiations, cattle producers have reached agreement with meatpackers and the supermarket industry on a voluntary system for labeling U.S.-produced beef.  Several national grocery chains, including Wal-Mart, Albertson’s, and Safeway, are interested in the program along with regional chains. It still must be approved by the USDA, which would have to certify beef as U.S.-produced. Groups representing cattle producers, packers and supermarket industry filed a petition with the department last week seeking its OK for the system. About 10 percent of beef sold in the United States is imported. The label would say: “Beef: Made in the U.S.A.’’ The beef would cost more than but it’s not clear yet how much.  Cattle would qualify as U.S-made so as long as they were imported at least 100 days prior to slaughter. (AP)

>  The biotech industry in the United States will see a strong growth in the coming years. The investment company Standard & Poors estimates that sales will go up by 20% to some US$26 billion in 2000. The rise in turnover is mostly due to the introduction of new products to the market. (Chemical Newsflash)

Agribusiness News

>  The pollster A.C. Nielsen reported in July that 93% of Australians wanted labels on genetically modified (GM) foods. A figure just as revealing emerged the week before at a public meeting, suggesting that more than half the people with an opinion on GM literally don’t know what they’re talking about.  Biotechnology Australia found that 60 to 80% of people don’t understand what GMOs are, well enough to be able to explain them to another person.  Foods on sale in Australia that use genetically modified ingredients (and are mainly imported) are from six GM crops: cotton oil, soybeans, canola oil, corn, potatoes and sugarbeet. (DirectAg – Farm Progress)

Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

The newsletter this week has a number of summary articles related to adding value to the producer by providing either diagnostics or systems.  Some of these products may not increase the sales of a specific product for a company but is viewed as a service to the customer.  It seemed to be a great week for the diagnostic business which we believe will become of increasing importance in animal health.  There are some interesting technologies developing that will improve the quality and ease of use diagnostics. We also had a couple summary stories related to the use of the Internet for supplying information to customers.  It appears to have been a value-added week for the industry.

 [Ron Brakke]
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