» 2000

Animal Health News & Notes for October 13, 2000 10/13/2000

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Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for October 13, 2000
Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
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Company Earnings Releases

>  IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. reported net income of $9.3 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2000, compared to net income of $8.4 million for the same period in the prior year.  Revenues for the third quarter increased to $90.4 million from $86.4 million for the third quarter of 1999.  For the nine months ended September 30, 2000, net income increased to $26.8 million from $23.7 million for the first nine months of 1999. Revenues for the nine months ended September 30, 2000, increased to $274.8 million from $267.6 million in the same period in 1999. (company press release)

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Company News Releases

>  SLIL Biomedical Corp. announced that it has signed an agreement with Elanco Animal Health.  The deal is specifically for veterinary and other animal health indications of SLIL's drug discovery pipeline. According to SLIL's President/CEO, SLIL's drug discovery program has generated 16 lead compounds for animal health indications.  SLIL's efforts have been aimed primarily at human cancer indications. However, several of its novel compounds have also shown promise as therapeutic agents in animal health. (PRNewswire)

>  Heska Corporation announced that it has been named to Deloitte and Touche's prestigious "Fast 50" program for Colorado, a ranking of the 50 fastest growing technology companies in the state. Nomination to the program is based on percentage revenue growth over the most recent five-year period, (1995-1999).  During this period, Heska's revenue grew by 2,195%, making it the 8th fastest growing technology company in the state. (PRNewswire)

>  VetConnect, Inc. and IDEXX Informatics, Inc. have merged to become VetConnect Systems, Inc. The new company will offer veterinarians a full line of in-office practice management systems as well as veterinary medical Internet applications.  Roy V. H. Pollock, DVM, PhD, President of VetConnect Systems, explains the merger as a logical step in providing information resources to support the practice of veterinary medicine. This provides veterinarians with a single-source, integrated approach to help address the need to manage more and more information and deliver better patient care.  (Business Wire)

>  Pilgrim's Pride announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire WLR Foods.  The acquisition is scheduled to be completed in December, and includes the assumption and/or refinancing of $60 million of WLR's obligations.  The acquisition would make Pilgrim's Pride the number two chicken company in the US, and move Pilgrim's Pride into turkey production.  The acquisition is valued at approximately $300 million.  (Feedstuffs)

>  Wisconsin's attorney general announced that six foreign vitamin companies agreed to pay $442 million to settle a lawsuit alleging they conspired to fix prices. The companies will pay $335 million to 21 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Businesses that bought vitamins in the 23 jurisdictions will be eligible to participate in a separate $107 million claim fund. Hoffmann-La Roche; BASF; Aventis; Takeda Chemical Industries; Eisai; and Daiichi took part in the settlement. Last year, Hoffman-La Roche and BASF were ordered to pay $725 million in criminal fines for colluding to divide up markets and set wholesale prices. (AP)

>  Veterinary Healthcare Communications (formerly Veterinary Medicine Publishing Group) announced the launch of two new internet applications: vetsymposium.com, the profession's first opportunity to view recorded symposia online, and Veterinary Economics' Virtual Hospital Tour, an online tour of Veterinary Economics' Hospital of the Year.  Vetsymposium debuted in August, while the Virtual Hospital Tour will open next March with the 2001 Hospital of the Year. (company press release)

>  DirectAg.com announced the completion of a $19.5 million round of private financing led by Rural Press Limited, the world's largest agricultural publishing company. This round of private financing is the third completed by DirectAg.com and brings the total amount of capital raised to date to $34.6 million. (PRNewswire)

>  pdqVET and Universal Ultrasound, Inc. announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership aimed at introducing pdqVET web site services into Universal Ultrasound’s current and future customer base.  Through the alliance, Universal Ultrasound and pdqVET plan to embark on a number of co-marketing and client education activities. (company press release)

>  Rare Medium and Friskies Petcare have launched an online initiative designed to attract pet owners across multiple entry points on the Web. The strategy enables consumers to interact with Friskies on their own terms by providing compelling, informative and pertinent pet-related content in a number of different venues.  Rare Medium developed brand-specific Web sites for Friskies Petcare.  Beyond the branded sites, the initiative includes the development of the non-branded www.VeryBestPet.com site. The site is a comprehensive resource for people interested in the lifelong care for their dogs and cats, including a wealth of information on health, behavior, grooming and lifestyle issues.  (Business Wire)

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  BRAKKE CONSULTING, INC.

Serving the Worldwide Animal Health and Pet Care Industries

Providing a complete range of consulting services, including:
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Animal Health News

> Egg farms will undergo mandatory testing for salmonella bacteria about once a year under a plan worked out by consumer groups, producers and government regulators. The plan, part of an agricultural spending bill awaiting final action in Congress, would establish the first nationwide pathogen testing standards for egg producers. The plan won't require producers to test as often as FDA had recommended, as much as four times a year. But producers agreed as part of the compromise to pay for the testing themselves rather than getting Congress to make FDA foot the bill. (AP)

>  Clear-Green Biotechnologies Inc. has struck a deal with Bioscan A/S (a Danish technology company) that could revolutionize the handling of organic waste from large livestock operations and meat packing plants. The patented Biorek process converts pig slurry to useful fertilizer components while producing heat and electricity. The first Biorek processor, to be built in Canada, will serve a 1,200-sow commercial pig barn yet to be built. Clear-Green is a 50-50 partnership between Bioscan A/S and BDI Research Inc. (AnimalNet – Star Phoenix)

>  Veterinary Technologies Corporation announced that it has been granted a U.S. patent on the use of a number of bacterial strains, including Brucella abortus RB51, to over-express homologous as well as heterologous antigens. The technology in this patent will allow for a significant increase in the amount of protection afforded by a live recombinant vaccine. The company is currently testing the ability of the modified strain B. abortus RB51 to protect against a variety of animal diseases including tuberculosis and paratuberculosis (Johnes). (company press release)

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Agribusiness News

>  Novartis shareholders have approved the de-merger of ag assets and the resulting merger of those assets with Zeneca Agrochemicals to create Syngenta.  AstraZeneca shareholders also approved the move to create what many call the largest agrochemical concern in the world.
Novartis, which is the result of a merger between Sandoz and Ciba, was one of several "life science" companies that formed in the late 1990s. To many, this de-merger of ag assets into a single entity puts the concept of the "life sciences" business in doubt. (DirectAg)

> A national survey conducted by the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) concludes that U.S. consumers are increasingly aware of ag biotechnology, but have not changed their food consumption behavior, despite publicity over the recall of taco shells allegedly containing unapproved biotech corn.  Only 5% of respondents reported that they had "actually done anything or taken any actions because of any concerns about genetically modified foods."  In addition, the survey found that only 10% of consumers worry a great deal that the foods they eat might not be safe. Consumers' main concerns remain those related to food that is not fresh or not handled in an appropriate manner. (AgWeb)

>  The EPA released a statement saying registration for the StarLink corn technology has been canceled, meaning it no longer can be planted for any agricultural purpose.  Aventis is announcing today that they are canceling the registration of Starlink corn at the strong urging of the EPA. (AgWeb)

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Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

There was a bit brewing in the animal health industry this week. However, it was not a big week for new stories that were reported.  Hopefully, most of 2001 budget reviews will be over by October 31, and animal health management will get back to serving the customers.  Please make sure you have increases in the budget lines for outside consultants!  It's been dry and hot in Texas this year, and we could use the additional business.  Have a good weekend, and don't let the fact that it's Friday the 13th jinx your day…

 [Ron Brakke]
 
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