» 2000

Animal Health News & Notes for February 18, 2000 2/18/2000

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Brakke Consulting’s
Animal Health News & Notes for February 18, 2000

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
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Company Earnings Releases
 Novartis announced 1999 year-end results for animal health were CHF 927 million ($580 million), an increase of 3% from sales of CHF 901 million in 1998.  Sales expanded in the Asia/Pacific region and the company defended its position in the competitive flea control market for pets, particularly in the US and in Europe. Interceptor and Sentinel were the brands driving growth. In contrast, the strong price pressure for commodities affected the farm animal market in the Americas and Europe.  Econor, a new veterinary treatment for intestinal and respiratory diseases in farm animals, made good progress with introductions in 21 countries. The new fast-acting flea treatment Capstar was successfully launched in four countries. (PRNewswire)

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Company News Releases
 Pharmacia & Upjohn has acquired from New Zealand-based InterAg the worldwide marketing rights to the CIDR intravaginal insert for estrus management.  The progesterone-releasing insert approved in a number of animal species has been marketed by InterAg since the mid-1980’s and is already approved in more than 30 countries.  An investigational new animal drug application has been filed with the FDA.  (Animal Pharm)
 Destron Fearing Corporation announced that it has entered into a three-year agreement with Triumph Pork Group LLC.  The agreement makes Destron the exclusive supplier of electronic identification devices and information systems for Triumph's project to establish a farm-to-table pork production system involving specific genetic lines and certified production protocols with trace-back capability. Under its contract with Triumph, Destron will supply electronic eartags (e.tags) and universal scanners that contain software developed by Destron that is capable of uploading and downloading information between the scanners and other computers. (PRNewswire)
 American Colloid Co. announced that it has entered into an agreement with The Andersons, Inc. to distribute, promote and merchandise The Andersons' proprietary corncob-based litter products nationally.  American Colloid is a leading producer and marketer of bentonite-based scoopable litter, for which the company holds a patent.  (PRNewswire)
 Burns Veterinary Supply has acquired Farvet, a regional veterinary distributor.  Farvet has been in business since 1935, and will allow Burns to expand its geographic presence. (company news)
 Purina Mills, Inc. reported that it received approval from the Bankruptcy Court of its Disclosure Statement for its Plan of Reorganization. The approval of the Disclosure Statement allows Purina Mills to commence the solicitation of votes for approval of its Plan of Reorganization.  The Disclosure Statement and ballots to vote on the Plan are expected to be mailed in late February 2000.  The hearing to consider confirmation of the Plan is scheduled for April 5, 2000. (PRNewswire)
 Neogen Corporation announced that it has acquired Acumedia Manufacturers Inc., a producer of culture medias, from IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.  More than 200 of Neogen's food safety customers already use Acumedia products. Acumedia had sales of about $3.5 million in its last fiscal year as a subsidiary of IDEXX.  Approximately 25% of Acumedia's revenues are from international sources. (PRNewswire)
 PETsMART, Inc. announced the launch of the PETsMART Universal Return Program, a breakthrough return policy that provides full refunds for pet food and supplies purchased from PETsMART, PETsMART.com or any other store, web site or catalog.  The PETsMART Universal Return Program allows consumers to visit any one of PETsMART's more than 493 locations in the United States and Canada to return any pet product purchased from any retailer associated with the sale of pets or pet supplies. (PRNewswire)
 PetQuarters.com is planning a comprehensive new version of its website, where both businesses and consumers can find the latest products, information and entertainment to suit every pet care need.  PetQuarters.com's new website will offer a mix of information, including free professional veterinary advice, health and nutrition tips, entertainment, chat rooms, classified ads and breed-specific message boards. (PRNewswire)
 Pets.com announced that it has completed an initial public offering of 7,500,000 shares of common stock at an offering price of $11 per share.  The shares commenced trading Friday, February 11 on Nasdaq under the symbol IPET.  All shares were sold that day by the Company. Pets.com has granted the underwriters an option for a period of thirty days to purchase up to 1,125,000 shares to cover over-allotments, if any. (Business Wire)

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Animal Health News
 Farmers in Australia now have a new test to detect closantel resistance in barber’s pole worm of sheep and goats. Developed at NSW Agriculture’s Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, the Closantel Resistance Test is designed to assess the effectiveness of the popular and widely-used drench.  Australia-wide, worms are the number one health problem in sheep, costing an estimated $220 million annually, with barber’s pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) heading the list of important worms.  (NSW Agriculture media release)
 Alcide Corporation announced that the USDA has approved Alcide's Sanova antimicrobial for use on red meat products, including carcasses, parts and organs processed in Federally inspected slaughter and secondary processing establishments.   The approval applies to beef, hogs, sheep and other red meat facilities.  For the past two years, Sanova has been approved for use on poultry and is presently being used in plants which collectively process more than 160 million birds per year for U.S. consumption. (Business Wire)
 Clinical trials conducted by ProdiGene have demonstrated for the first time that an oral vaccine expressed in plants gives protection against a virulent viral pathogen in livestock.  The trials were conducted on swine using an edible form of a vaccine for transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV). The trials were conducted using standard protocol for evaluating vaccine efficacy.  (PRNewswire)
 The results of an Animal Health Institute survey on U.S. antibiotic use in animals  indicates that the vast majority of antibiotics are used to treat and prevent disease. The survey, released Feb. 9, was based on 1998 data provided to AHI by its members.  The CDC estimated that more than 50 million pounds of antibiotics are produced in the United States each year, with 17.8 million pounds (36%) used in animals. Of the total used in animals, 14.7 million pounds (83%) are used for prevention and treatment of disease, and 3.1 million pounds (17%) are used for growth promotion. (Feedstuffs)

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Agribusiness News
 Foodvision.com, a food-specific internet information provider and portal, announced a co-branding deal with eHarvest.com.  eHarvest.com is a leading global agri-food business to business e-commerce company.  eHarvest.com was created to benefit farmers instantly with the latest and sometimes vital information necessary for maximum production and profit. The hub site includes detailed up-to-the-minute coverage of such diverse areas of the global marketplace as grains, livestock, goods and services, financing, universities, commodities, and government affairs, by linking over 6,500 agriculture-related websites in its search engine. (Business Wire)
 Health Minister Andrea Fischer ordered a ban Wednesday on cultivation of genetically modified corn in Germany, saying the plants contain a substance that could affect the effectiveness of antibiotics in humans (because it was made resistant to the antibiotic Ampicillin to differentiate it from normal corn). Novartis, a Swiss-based drugs and biotechnology company, received permission three years ago to plant the altered corn on test fields in Germany, and had applied for permission to sell it to farmers for general use. Fischer said the decision to ban cultivation for now was reached in consultation with the Environment and Agriculture ministries, and would remain in effect until the European Union reaches a final decision on the use of genetically modified crops. (AP)

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Brakke Consulting Viewpoint

It is great to report on new technology; we’ve not had a lot of that lately.  We have been reporting for some time that oral vaccines will have an impact on the industry.  ProdiGene even takes the new oral vector vaccines one step further into the future.  Several of these technologies will contribute to improved health and food safety in the future.

There was the normal weekly announcements from the pet products dot.com crowd.  Plus at least two more e-commerce companies who plan to serve the veterinary profession with business-to-business product and service needs.  We’ve yet to see a business concept that provides a great value to the target audience.  As reported in this newsletter, last Friday Pets.com went public at $11.00 per share.  Yesterday the Pet.com shares were trading in the $7.50 range.  If they do not recover and one or two more e-commerce IPO’s have similar results, the party will be over for equity deals unless they have a business plan that offers a benefit to someone other than the e-commerce company. 

I have just spent a few days at the Bio-Tech 2000 conference in NYC.  Out of the 160 companies attending there were only 6 that indicated that they had products or technology for the animal or agricultural fields.  Where is the new technology for the industry going to come from in the next few years?   

Have a nice weekend!!
 
 [Ron Brakke]
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