The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for November 22, 2000

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Company News Releases

>  Oncolytics Biotech Inc announced that it has entered into a worldwide licensing agreement with US based pharmaceutical firm, Pfizer Inc., for the development and marketing of ONC’s reovirus for animal use. The reovirus has shown effectiveness in a number of animal model studies including canine. Pfizer will be responsible for development and commercialization of the product. ONC will provide continuing support to Pfizer for the development of the product. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. (Business Wire)
>  AVANT Immunotherapeutics, Inc. announced that the company has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase privately held vaccine company, Megan Health, Inc. in a transaction valued at approximately $18 million.  The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and by a majority of Megan’s shareholders, and is expected to close shortly.  The acquisition of Megan adds significantly to AVANT’s vaccine portfolio, giving the company a premier position in the field of live, attenuated oral vaccines.  In particular, AVANT will gain access to technologies for developing vaccines against Campylobacter and E. coli, important causes of serious diarrheal diseases worldwide. (PRNewswire)

>  AVANT Immunotherapeutics, Inc. announced the signing of an agreement with Pfizer aimed at developing vaccines to protect animals from bacterial diseases, and to help control food borne pathogens in livestock. The collaboration will employ an oral vaccine technology acquired by AVANT in its acquisition of privately held Megan Health Inc.  Under the agreement, Pfizer will pay AVANT an up-front license fee of $2.5 million for an exclusive license to use the AVANT technology to develop prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines to protect livestock and companion animals from respiratory and enteric diseases, as well as to develop vaccines against the most prevalent bacterial pathogens associated with food safety. Pfizer will also make a $3 million equity investment in AVANT.  Pfizer and AVANT will conduct a joint research program funded by Pfizer.  In addition, AVANT may earn milestone payments upon attainment of certain development and regulatory goals, and will receive royalties on any product sales that may result from the collaboration. (PRNewswire)

>  Intervet announced that it has agreed to purchase research and development facilities from Aventis in the UK. The newly acquired laboratories occupy a position adjacent to Intervet’s existing site in Milton Keynes. Intervet will pay EUR 11 million for the new facilities, enabling the company to stretch its wings in the United Kingdom and further strengthen its biological R&D power.  (Business Wire)
>  Heska Corporation announced that the Company has been recognized by Deloitte & Touche as one of the 500 fastest growing technology companies in the U.S. and Canada. Rankings are based on five-year percentage revenue growth from 1995 to 1999.  Heska’s revenue increase of 2,195% over this period earned the Company the rank of 189th on the list. (PRNewswire)

> Carravet Acemannan Immunostimulant, manufactured by Carrington Laboratories, Inc. and marketed by Veterinary Products Laboratories (VPL), recently received full license from the USDA as an adjunct to surgery in the treatment of canine and feline fibrosarcoma.  Currently, Carravet Acemannan Immunostimulant is the only USDA-licensed immunostimulant to treat this type of recurrent cancer in dogs and cats.  A natural product refined from the aloe plant, it works by stimulating the immune system to encapsulate or “wrap-up” the tumor.  Following treatment, the tumor may have clearly defined edges and becomes much easier for the veterinarian to remove. (AnimalNet – company press release)

>  Veterinary Products Laboratories (VPL) announced that it has executed a letter of intent with Wound Healing of Oklahoma (WHO) to develop a novel, surgical implant for the treatment of glaucoma in animals.  VPL will develop and market the implant to veterinary ophthalmologists, both domestically and internationally.  VPL has initiated trials and anticipates market introduction in 2001, after tailoring the device for veterinary patients and the manufacturing aspects have been established. (company press release) 

> announced the introduction of its web site designed to unite pet owners with information, services, products and advice for the care of their pets.  Besides serving as a comprehensive resource on pet-related topics — from pet travel, expert tips, pet products and services, and pet matchmaking — the site also hosts an open forum for members’ recommendations, feedback and discussion. For service providers, the site offers market exposure, an alternative to the traditional Yellow Page advertising and a greater return on investment. gives vendors a free listing in the “Get a Referral” directory and, for a minimum fee, vendors can extend their reach by customizing their listing or posting their web page on the site. (Business Wire)


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Animal Health News

>  In an AC Nielson survey, four pet products made it to the top 100 sellers in supermarkets across Australia in 2000.  Three of the four were from the Uncle Ben’s stable:  Pedigree Pal for dogs (15th), is still growing in sales, now at A$155 million.  Whiskas wet and dry cat food (18th), currently enjoys 50% of the cat market, with sales of A$127 million.  Chum (81st), an economy/value dog food, has gained market share.  Nestle’s Lucky Dog (85th), was re-launched with a completely new range of dry and wet foods and bones. (Retail World)

>  The deregulation of milk prices in Australia in July this year has only benefited the large supermarket chains and city consumers, according to an article in Retail World magazine.  Dairy farmers are getting lower prices for their milk.  They are being driven to picketing the big supermarkets as they are being paid below cost for their production.  The adverse effects will flow through to every other business in towns in dairy farming districts.  Dairy farmers are so angered by the imposed deregulation, they are now talking of running a political campaign focusing on marginal seats to oust the ruling Liberal/National coalition government. (Retail World)

> companies are closing at a rate of more than one a day, eliminating 8,000 jobs since January, as the collapse in Internet stock prices chokes the flow of capital keeping start-ups afloat.  As many as 130 dot.coms have closed since January, according to San Francisco-based which tracks Internet mergers and acquisitions. And the pace is accelerating. Through the first half of November, 21 Internet companies closed, almost as many as during all of October, when a record 22 were shuttered.  About 1,500 to 2,000 U.S. Internet start-ups have received venture funding in the last three years, and more than 300 are public.  (Bloomberg News)

Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

This is the time when we all pause and look back over the year.  We find that the time has gone faster than we expected and we did not live up to all of our new year’s resolutions. We still have a few weeks left to make up for shortfalls and begin recommitting to the resolutions for 2001.   It is a special time to be with family and friends.  We want to wish each of you in the US a great Thanksgiving Holiday.  For those outside of the US, try taking a day off and enjoying some time with your family.  

A special thanks to our clients and readers.  We appreciate the trust you place in us when you request our services.  We hope we have lived up to your expectations.


All the Brakke Consultants 
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