» 2001

Animal Health News & Notes for September 7, 2001 9/7/2001

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Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for September 7, 2001
Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
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Company Earnings Releases

>  International Absorbents Inc. announced record financial results for the second quarter ended July 31, 2001. Second quarter revenues increased by 55% to a record $3.2 million versus $2.1 million for the same quarter a year ago.  After tax net income (profits) more than doubled to $371,000 over $181,000 last year, a 106% increase.  Revenues for the six months improved by 35% to a record $5.7 million versus $4.2 million a year ago.  After tax net income increased by 40% to $639,000 from $456,000 last year. (PRNewswire)


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Company News Releases

>  Novartis Animal Health US announced availability of an online training course for veterinary technicians covering animal behavior.  Previously, veterinary technicians and veterinary staff have been taking the course via mail.  The course is being offered on the VetTeam website, an on-line resource for technicians that offers educational credits and other information. Veterinary technicians who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion, a lapel pin and a starter set of business cards, as well as 2 continuing education credit hours from Auburn University in Veterinary Technology. Novartis has been sponsoring the free Behavior Training Course for the past two years.  (company press release)

>   According to Reuters news service, ConAgra Foods Inc. is actively shopping its beef business, No. 3 in the United States, to potential buyers, and has recently had talks with pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc.  Smithfield and ConAgra are reportedly not close to an agreement.  ConAgra's beef business is believed to have between $5.5 billion and $6.0 billion in annual sales. (Reuters)

>  Purina Mills, Inc. stockholders have approved a $230 million merger with a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes. The merger received the favorable votes of approximately 67% of the total shares outstanding. The deal is expected to close by the end of September.  Land O'Lakes also will assume about $130 million in Purina Mills' debt. St. Louis-based Purina will become part of Land O'Lakes Farmland Feed LLC. (AgWeb)

>  Heinz Pet Snacks, an affiliate of the H.J. Heinz Company announced its new, longer-lasting Pup-Peroni NawSomes! dog snack is experiencing record sales. According to Nielsen data for the four week period ending  August 18, NawSomes! claimed a 10.8% share of the $300 million soft and chewy market. (Business Wire)

>  Researchers from Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in the UK announced that they have developed and successfully tested an antioxidant blend for cats and dogs which will promote longevity and make them more resistant to disease, and would enable vets and academics to
measure and test DNA damage in cats and dogs. A study carried out at the center showed that dogs fed on the Waltham antioxidant incurred 26% less DNA damage, and cats 17% less. (AnimalNet - PA News)

>  The European Commission recently announced that PIC has been successful in obtaining its fifth EC project grant.  The project focuses on pork quality in pigs to meet consumer expectations for both quality and welfare.  The research partnership will use innovative, functional genomics and proteomics techniques to identify the genes and their encoded proteins responsible for variation in pork quality traits. The total cost of the project, comprising the EC grant and funding from PIC and the other research partners, is estimated at $3.4 Million.  (PRNewswire)

>  Forbes ASAP has named technology eMerge Interactive, Inc. to its 2001 Best of the Web listing, a summary of the most promising business-to-business web sites in 31 categories, based on strategy, execution, and financial staying power.  The company was also featured in Forbes.com's inaugural Best of the Web list in 2000.  (PRNewswire)

>  NETHERLANDS   Dutch farmers claim they have new evidence to support a claim that the deaths of thousands of cows in 1999 may have been caused by a bovine flu vaccine made by Bayer AG. The farmers filed suit against Bayer in The Hague district court last year after Bayer rejected a claim that could run into several hundred millions of guilders in compensation. Farmers allege that the vaccine was contaminated with BVD (bovine virus diarrhea). Dutch animal health institute ID-Lelystad found that even tiny levels of contamination in vaccines can cause problems.  Bayer has claimed there is no evidence that a small amount of virus in a vaccine could cause illness in cattle. (Reuters)

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Brakke Consulting, Inc. announces our
SALES FORCE EFFECTIVENESS STUDY

The announcement in last week's newsletter of our SALES FORCE EFFECTIVENESS multi-client study drew lots of questions from our readers.  Some of you who haven't called may have the same ones, so we have listed below several reasons why your company should participate in the SALES FORCE EFFECTIVENESS STUDY:

1.  Most firms need and want third-party feedback about their sales forces. 
2.  The study will allow you to rely on veterinarian input, instead of assumptions, to determine
(a) the type of sales representation that gets your reps past staff gatekeepers and
(b) what sales tactics have been most successful in influencing veterinarian decision making.
3.  The study is an excellent value, since the cost for an individual company to replicate this study would be as much as $75,000.  Our multi-client study reduces the cost to $25,000 for each subscriber. 
4.  Corporate sales training programs can be designed to meet veterinarian needs and requirements.

This SALES FORCE EFFECTIVENESS STUDY will be answering such questions as:

- What does your customer want from your sales person?
 - What percent of veterinarians actually see salespeople and why?
 - How is your competition's sales force doing? 
 - Are their salespeople more, or less, successful in seeing the veterinarian/customer?
 - Which company's salespeople are seeing veterinarians most frequently and why?
 - Are there differences based on clinic size or geographic area?
 - Which companies' salespeople offer the most helpful information to the customer?
 

Brakke Consulting will conduct three focus groups and survey 600 small animal veterinarians to answer these and other questions.  The information provided can verify the effective of your company's sales force, and offer direction for change and improvement.  If you would like to learn more about the 2001 Sales Force Effectiveness Study, please contact Ron Brakke at
rbrakke@brakkeconsulting.com <mailto:rbrakke@brakkeconsulting.com> or (972) 243-4033; or Ken Berkholtz at kberkholtz@brakkeconsulting.com <mailto:kberkholtz@brakkeconsulting.com> or (561) 223-3079.

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Animal Health News

>  UK   UK government officials confirmed the 2,000th case of foot-and-mouth disease in the UK following the confirmation of another outbreak. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was said that the milestone case had been confirmed in Cumbria, the worst-hit county in the UK with 878 cases. (AnimalNet – PA News)

>  EUROPE   Authorities in Switzerland and Belgium reported three new cases of BSE.
The Swiss veterinary office reported that two new cases of BSE were found on separate farms in central Switzerland, bringing to 24 the number of animals affected by the disease in the country
since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, Belgium's 23rd case of the disease so far this year was identified on a cow from a herd in the northeast of Belgium. (AnimalNet - Agence France Presse)

>  SWITZERLAND   Swiss and Italian scientists have created immune cells in mice that can recognize abnormal prion proteins. The research suggests that vaccines could be used for fighting prion diseases such as scrapie, BSE and the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.  The researchers generated mice that spontaneously develop an immunity against
prions by reprogramming their lymphocytes to make anti-prion antibodies. When scrapie was injected into the abdomen of these mice, they were protected against prions. (AnimalNet – Swissinfo)

>  ARGENTINA   Argentine scientists are at work on an edible vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease.  They are developing a plant that carries some of the viral proteins, so when the animal eats the plant, antibodies are created and provide protection.  The study is focusing on alfalfa because it is a major food source for Argentine cattle. (AnimalNet – Reuters)

>  US   The Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Health Act of 2001, known as MUMS, was introduced in the U.S. House in May and in the Senate just before Congress adjourned for its summer break. The purpose of this bill is to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic
Act to address the critical shortage of approved animal drugs for minor species, species other than cattle, horses, swine, chickens, turkeys, dogs, and cats. The bill would also make it easier to gain approval for the use of a drug for a disease that occurs infrequently in a major species or in limited geographic areas. (AnimalNet - Knight-Ridder Tribune)

>  US   The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a petition from a cattle rancher asking the court to force the USDA to conduct a referendum on the beef research and promotion program, i.e., the beef checkoff.  USDA decided in January not to hold a referendum on the beef checkoff, citing the fact that proponents of the referendum failed to gather enough valid signatures on petitions.  The court determined that it does not have jurisdiction over the matter. (Meating Place)

>  US   Infectious salmon anemia is spreading through Maine's fish farms, forcing officials to destroy more than 700,000 farm-raised salmon. The salmon sacrificed so far this year, roughly 6% of the industry's total, would have been worth more than $12 million at maturity. The disease is harmless to humans but can be fatal to fish, causing internal bleeding and destroying their organs. Officials also fear it could spread to endangered wild Atlantic salmon. (AP)

>  US   Scientists at Texas A&M University became the first to clone three different animal species: cattle, goats and pigs; but is still struggling to produce a cloned dog in the much-ballyhooed "Missyplicity Project."  Although they had produced multiple animals from the same genes, each clone came out differently and there were a high number of abnormalities. (AnimalNet - Reuters)

>  US    Palm, Inc. announced it has awarded mobile medicine technology grants to 17 U.S. universities and teaching hospitals.  Palm has provided a total of 1,000 Palm IIIc handheld computers for students studying medicine, dentistry, pharmacology and veterinary medicine. Educators indicated that students cannot memorize the enormous volume of information required for today's growing medical and dental subspecialties, so they are turning to Palm handhelds to instantly retrieve and store information so they may provide faster, more accurate patient diagnosis and treatment. Recipients included the Cornell Hospital for Animals.  (PRNewswire)

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Agribusiness News

>  Bayer AG hopes to conclude talks this month on buying French-based pharmaceutical firm Aventis' CropScience agrochemicals business, according to a Bayer spokesman. The Wall Street Journal, citing ``people close to the talks,'' reported Monday that Bayer had reached an agreement to buy CropScience for close to $5 billion and assume some $1.8 billion in debt. Bayer and Aventis, along with Berlin-based Schering AG, announced in July that they were in exclusive talks on a sale of CropScience. Aventis CropScience has annual sales of $3.6 billion. (AP)

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Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

We hope you all had an enjoyable Labor Day weekend.  You can tell from the size of the newsletter that the public relations staff and management probably used up some vacation time this week as well. 

Hopefully we all had record sales in August so that you can coast in September and not start the 2002 load-in too early.  Please remember that nothing good happens to excess inventory.  It draws dust, goes out of date, disappears from inventory, or gets damaged while waiting to be sold in 2003.  Sell your customers what they need, and not what you need to make your sales forecast.

 [Ron Brakke]
 
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