» 2001

Animal Health News & Notes for April 13, 2001 4/13/2001

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Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for April 13, 2001

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
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Company Earnings Releases

 

 

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Company News Releases

>  Pfizer has donated $300,000 to establish the Companion Animal Pain Management Consortium, comprised of the University of Tennessee, Colorado State University, the University of Illinois and Pfizer.  The group has plans to develop consensus pain management protocols and bolster pain management education and research in universities and in continuing education efforts.  (Veterinary Practice News)

>  Two German states – Hesse and Saarland – have entered into a contract with Merial for foot and mouth vaccines.  About 100,000 doses of vaccine are stored in the Hesse test center in Kassel for both states, and can be called upon immediately. On behalf of the other 14 federal states, Bayer’s vaccine reserve bank in Cologne is exclusively keeping all the supplies required for comprehensive vaccination in an extremely short time if the disease spreads in Germany. Bayer AG’s animal disease expert explained that, up to now, the vaccine reserve bank has stored supplies of 100,000 doses for each of the 12 most important virus strains for immediate use. In the mean time, at the request of the states these stocks have been increased to 600,000 as a precaution, and an additional half a million units of vaccine can be produced in five days. (Chemical Newsflash)

> Novartis and Evolutec of the United Kingdom have entered a joint research and development agreement to test and evaluate Evolutec's proprietary tick saliva derived cement proteins as vaccine antigens in animal models.  If the research is successful, Novartis may become the exclusive partner of Evolutec for the development and commercialization of a tick vaccine.  (Veterinary Practice News)

>  Ten residents of rural northwestern Kentucky are squaring off against Tyson Foods in a closely watched case in which the company and its chicken grower face criminal action and fines of more than $100 million a day because of chicken smells. Armed with complaints from residents who live near the broiler houses just outside the city limits, police filed charges last year under a city ordinance that establishes a maximum penalty of up to $250 per animal creating a nuisance. There are about 400,000 chickens in 16 houses.  Tyson's attorney will argue that the operation of broiler houses is protected under Kentucky's right-to-farm law. He also will argue that those who object to any aspect of the boiler operation should file a civil lawsuit rather than a criminal complaint under an ordinance typically reserved for “barking dogs, stray cows and loud neighbors. (AnimalNet - The Meating Place)

>  PETCO Animal Supplies Inc. and its non-profit PETCO Foundation are sponsoring the Fourth Annual National Pet Adoption Days campaign on April 21st and 22nd.  PETCO is hosting local adoption groups in more than 500 participating stores to help find homes for homeless animals. Although PETCO stores conduct ongoing adoption efforts with participating animal shelter partners, this annual event is designed to encourage adoption as a responsible way to make a companion animal part of the family.  In the last three years this annual two-day campaign has helped find homes for over 7,000 animals. (PRNewswire)

>  Embrex has been awarded a patent in its continuing development of a device for determining in ovo the gender of poultry.  The patent covers a method of localizing a basic fluid in fertile poultry eggs.  The device positions the eggs in a precise manner, allowing for high-speed sampling of the fluid from which the gender of the embryo can be determined. (Feedstuffs)

>  Vical Incorporated announced the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 6,214,804, which expands the company's broad ownership of naked DNA gene delivery technologies by including administration of naked DNA into any tissue for the purpose of inducing an immune response. This patent effectively renews and reinforces Vical's previously issued patent covering naked DNA injection into muscle or skin to stimulate an immune response systemically.  Moreover, it generically covers both systemic and local administration of naked DNA vaccines.  (PRNewswire)

>  VetCentric is now offering prescription management services in 45 states with pharmacy board approvals from the other states pending.  Currently, the most frequently requested medications are specialty medications, particularly cardiac drugs, and compounded medicines.  VetCentric also recently closed an additional round of financing that should see the company funded through 2002.  (Veterinary Practice News)

> Drs. Foster and Smith, a pet product catalog and e-tailer, recently signed a deal to provide articles for the dog and cat section of Yahoo's pet channel.  Each article will link to Drs Foster and Smith's pet content website, which in turn links to the company's retail site.  (Veterinary Practice News)

>  PPL Therapeutics has dropped plans for a 45 million pounds ($65 million) fund-raising, blaming a fall in technology markets. PPL, which had hoped the funding would see it through to breakeven in 2004, has enough cash for around a year at its current ``burn rate'' of just under one million pounds a month. The company added it was actively pursuing a range of financing alternatives, but its shares fell by 14 percent to 114 pence, the lowest level in 14 months, as the financial uncertainty took its toll.  (AnimalNet – Reuters)


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Animal Health News

>  In an effort to be proactive and help protect the health status of the U.S. swine herd and protect U.S. pork producers, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is canceling the 2001 World Pork Expo.  Just eight days ago World Pork Expo officials told us the Expo would go on as scheduled at this point.  In its fourteenth year, World Pork Expo was expected to attract approximately 40,000 pork producers and consumers. In addition to the U.S. pork producers, about 2,000 international visitors from 60 countries annually attend the event. (DirectAg)

>  European food safety Commissioner David Byrne said the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease could cost the European Union budget more than 250 million euros ($225 million), a figure which continues to rise.  He repeated the European Commission's stance on wiping out the highly
contagious virus, which affects cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, pigs, sheep and goats, and its opposition to widespread vaccination.  In Britain there have been 1,165 infected sites, 20 in the Netherlands, two in France and one in Ireland. (Reuters)

>  NETHERLANDS - The Dutch government confirmed a new case of foot-and-mouth disease at a dairy farm in a remote region near the northern coast. The case was the 22nd since the first outbreak of the highly infectious disease last month, and was the first outside the small area where all the other cases have been found so far. (AnimalNet – Reuters)

>  COLOMBIA - Colombian scientists have discovered a gene in a native breed of cows that protects the animals against foot-and-mouth.  According to a study in which scientists from the University of Texas also participated, the gene has proved resistant against three of the seven types of foot-and-mouth virus that have been reported in Colombia.  Still, local cattle associations said the chances of exporting the Blanco Orejinegro breed to Europe were slim because there were only 10,000 head in Colombia. (AnimalNet – Reuters)

> ARGENTINA - The Confederation of Rural Associations of Buenos Aires and La Pampa (CARBAP), a group of ranchers from Argentina's main beef-producing region, has stated that Argentina should expand its vaccination program against foot-and-mouth disease to include its entire herd of cattle if it hopes to eradicate the virus and avoid its spread. Argentina's food and animal health inspection agency Senasa announced a plan in February to vaccinate part of its 50 million cattle herd as a precaution against foot-and-mouth, after producers said some cattle were infected with the virus. As of last Friday, some 14 million head of cattle had been inoculated and 30 million doses of vaccine had been used. Argentina, the world's fifth-biggest beef exporter, with sales of $600 million in 2000, found animals infected with foot-and-mouth disease in March and has discovered some 150 additional outbreaks since then. (Reuters)

>  US - The US Senate has authorized a commission of high-ranking officials to coordinate efforts to keep mad-cow and foot-and-mouth diseases out of the United States. A bill passed Thursday night would bring together agriculture, health and safety officials to ensure that the government is doing everything it can to keep the bovine diseases out of the country. The bill now goes to the House. The commission proposed by the Senate would be made up of high-ranking officials such as the secretaries of agriculture, commerce, health and human services and treasury departments, the FDA commissioner and the directors of the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. After the commission is created, it would submit a report to Congress saying what steps are being taken to keep the diseases out of the country and what legislative steps still need to be taken. (AP)

>  US - The FDA will allow manufacturers to irradiate animal feed and pet treats to reduce the risk of food poisoning for animals and people, who can contract salmonella by handling contaminated treats made of beef or pork. The go-ahead comes after the approval by the FDA of a petition filed by the Food Safety Division of IBA, a world leader in irradiation technology. Using irradiation will not only increase the safety of the feed for the animals consuming it, but to people who handle animal feed and feed ingredients. Still, pet owners should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after any contact with pet treats.  (AnimalNet – Reuters)

>  As far as McDonalds's, the world's No. 1 hamburger vendor, is concerned, Happy Meals start with happy cows. That was the message delivered in February by a coterie of McDonald's consultants to a group of 140 managers who oversee the slaughter of most of the cattle and pigs Americans will consume this year. From now on, McDonald's says, its suppliers will be judged not only on how cleanly they slaughter animals, but also on how well they manage the small details in the final minutes.  The company's headfirst plunge into slaughter policing is revolutionizing the way slaughterhouses do business, according to a wide range of industry experts and observers.
McDonald's decided in 1998 to conduct annual inspections at every plant that puts the beef into Big Macs. (AnimalNet – Washington Post)

>  The USDA's Agricultural Research Service scientists report that sodium chlorate, fed in low doses to pigs and cows before slaughter, selectively kills the pathogens Salmonella typhimurium and E. coli 0157:H7 in the animal intestinal tract. Gut and lymph tissue in meat animals and chickens are major reservoirs for salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7. The USDA has applied for a patent on behalf of the inventors.  The researchers are seeking a cooperative research partner to further develop the work for commercial meat processing. (Health Animals Newsletter)

> US - A recently introduced bill in the Oregon State Senate would allow pet owners to sue persons responsible for the death of their pets for up to $250,000 for loss of companionship.  Under existing law, pet owners can sue for up to $250.  Veterinarians and other caregivers, including animal shelters, do not currently appear to be exempt from the bill.  (Veterinary Practice News)

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Agribusiness News

>  Neogen Corporation announced that it has signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement with
Monsanto Company to access proprietary Monsanto technology to develop tests for the rapid detection of genetically enhanced grains. The tests, which will also be marketed by Neogen, will allow grain distributors and processors to quickly and easily identify grain developed through Monsanto's agricultural biotechnology. One of the first tests Neogen will produce under the agreement will be a rapid and easy-to-use diagnostic test to detect the presence of the Roundup
Ready(R) herbicide resistance trait developed by Monsanto.  This herbicide resistance has been incorporated into soybean seed used throughout the world. Soybean varieties with this trait are expected to be a large percentage of this year's total production in the leading soybean producing countries of the United States and Argentina. The licensing agreement also includes the development of tests to detect plant proteins developed for corn, cotton and canola. (PRNewswire)

>  Monsanto will be able to distribute to Italian customers 40 tons of soy seed and 6 tons of corn seed after laboratory analyses found no trace of genetically modified seed in the supplies. Italian police last month had sequestered the seed at a northern Italian depot in Lodi because of suspicion that genetically modified seed was in the shipment.  A laboratory in Brescia, northern Italy, that analyzed the seed declined to give any details, merely noting Monsanto's announcement about the negative result. (AP)


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Brakke Consulting Viewpoint
 
This week's news was dominated by the current foot and mouth outbreaks and the efforts to contain the disease's spread.  We're pleased to see an aggressive response by various stakeholders in the marketplace.  We further believe that this worldwide problem deserves some in-depth study by the various participants.

It seems to us that this is an opportunity for new technologies to evolve.  Who is going to invest to solve this type of problem for the long term?  A solution may be the largest new technology or product opportunity in the animal health industry.  It will not be easy, but neither was putting a man on the moon.

[Ron Brakke]
 
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