The Experts in Animal Health

Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for May 31, 2019
Copyright © Brakke Consulting

Editor: Lynn Fondon DVM MBA

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Global DX
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• automed announced that Virbac is now a global distribution partner for the company’s treatment delivery system to livestock producers, including those in working in swine, cattle and sheep. The automed system consists of an automatic livestock medication delivery device and a tech-based livestock management tool. (Animal Pharm)

• Norbrook Laboratories reported that is recalling 34 lots of veterinary injectable drug products to the veterinarian/consumer level as a precautionary measure as product sterility cannot be assured. Norbrook discovered that product tested, released and distributed within the USA was manufactured on an aseptic line that subsequently did not pass process simulation tests. Product lots are listed at (FDA)

• Sonoma Pharmaceuticals announced it has sold certain rights and assets associated with its Microcyn product line for European and Asian markets to Petagon, an Asia-based international importer and distributor of pet food and products, for $2.7 million. Petagon has been a distributor of Microcyn AH products in the Chinese, Hong Kong and various other Asian markets over the past five years. (Animal Pharm)

• Wild Earth Inc. announced it has closed its Series A with an investment of $11 million led by New York-based VegInvest, a venture capital firm supporting early-stage companies striving to replace the use of animals in the food system and other industries. The investment is being used to accelerate Wild Earth’s development of its no-meat food for dogs made from an eco-friendly and renewably sourced fungi, a complete protein containing all 10 essential amino acids. Wild Earth expects the dry kibble formula to be available in the second half of 2019. (Pet Product News)

• VetMatrix, an Internet marketing firm and designer of mobile-responsive websites for veterinarians, announced a partnership with Vetstoria, which offers and online appointment scheduling platform and digital marketing for veterinary practices. (Yahoo finance)

• EU Spanish biotechnology firm Algenex and UK business Global DX have signed a diagnostics R&D agreement focused on African swine fever (ASF). The first product will be a point-of-care (POC) rapid diagnostic test to identify pigs who have been exposed to the ASF virus. Algenex will deliver diagnostic reagents and Global DX will provide technical expertise in developing and manufacturing the test. Algenex expects the POC diagnostic to be on the market in Europe by the end of the year. (Animal Pharm)

• EU VLPbio announced it has signed an R&D agreement with an unnamed animal health company for the commercialization of its porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv) vaccine. The vaccine has been developed using VLPbio’s antigen-display platform based on chimeric virus-like particles (Ch-VLP). (Animal Pharm)

• EU ViroVet and researchers at the UK’s Pirbright Institute announced a collaboration to develop the first antiviral drugs against African swine fever (ASF). The research will test antiviral drugs – that have already been screened in a laboratory by ViroVet – shown to reduce viral replication in cells in the absence of cellular toxicity. These antivirals have demonstrated a minimum 90% reduction in viral replication. Pirbright will then test the most successful candidates further at its high containment facilities. (Animal Pharm)


• UK – TB At least six cats, five of whom are now dead, may have contracted tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis) after eating frozen, raw pet food sold in the United Kingdom in 2018. Another seven cats were exposed to pathogens. Natural Instinct Wild Venison raw cat food was the only observed common factor among all five households with tuberculosis-infected cats. The report on the outbreak was published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. (

• US – LYME DISEASE New research from the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) has confirmed that dogs are sentinels to assess human risk for tick-borne Lyme disease. The study shows that human incidence of Lyme disease increases as canine seroprevalence for Borrelia burgdorferi increases. Results were published this week in Geospatial Health. CAPC makes access to the canine seroprevalence data available in its prevalence maps, a resource available free online ( to help people and their physicians assess their risk for exposure. (association press release)

• WORLD – ASF Delegates at the recent 87th general assembly of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) called for the establishment of a global initiative to control ASF in hopes of eradicating it entirely and to reduce its devastating economic effects on the pig industry. The initiative will be coordinated by OIE and the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO). (Feedstuffs)


If you are on the livestock side of the animal health business, you might be getting tired of reading about African Swine Fever in China. But you shouldn’t be tired yet of thinking about its impact. In a decade or so, we will look back at this disease outbreak in the largest swine-producing country in the world as causing real disruption in the animal health industry. Here are just three things we see unfolding.

• China wants to be self-sufficient in pork production. They won’t be in ten years and never will be. They will still be importing pork from low-cost countries with better meat quality perceptions – but China will dictate how those pigs are produced.

• China’s small to medium sized producers, especially those near cities, will disappear and will be replaced by huge, integrated, single-site production units and slaughter facilities. And they will use as much artificial intelligence as possible, all done in the name of biosecurity and efficiency. Very few decision-makers will control how pork reaches the Chinese table. These will be important people to animal health companies.

• The countries bordering China will discover that their pigs have ASF. The US will have cases of ASF – brought over on an airplane or a ship. This is a hardy virus. Animal health companies with biological R&D programs will have vaccines in the field, but none will be 100% effective. Every pig will be vaccinated because the risk of infection will always be there.

Later this summer, most companies will start on their budgets for 2020 and their longer-range strategic plan. Strategic plan discussions that I was involved in about used to focus on how fast the Chinese pork production industry would consolidate or how we would manage through the viral disease of the day, like PED (porcine epidemic diarrhea) or CSF (classical swine fever). ASF will be in the plans of everyone involved in protein production for a while and for good, global reasons. This level of disruption certainly means opportunity – just need to think.

Bob Jones

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