It's been a productive couple of weeks for Aratana Therapeutics. I had the opportunity to sit down with Aratana CEO Steven St. Peter last week to chat about recent developments, and more generally, the prospects for the animal health industry going forward. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.
The National Pork Board has launched an online marketing campaign to direct consumers to websites that support the use of antibiotics in livestock following a television documentary critical of the practice.
The industry group emailed its strategy to food and agriculture leaders ahead of the airing earlier this week of the documentary "The Trouble with Antibiotics" on the PBS Frontline program, Reuters reported.
It is fascinating what has happened in the last couple of years in the animal health industry, which runs to $22 billion a year for animal drugs and vaccines and is expected to grow at 5.7% compound annual rate, faster than the market for human medicines. Zoetis was spun off from Pfizer as the largest independent animal health company. M&A action in recent months is remixing the players once again. Next year, Novartis will be off of this list, and based on current revenues, Eli Lilly's Elanco should ascend to the number two position.
Many, but not all, of the largest are units of Big Pharma. One of the things you might notice is the range in size from largest to smallest, $4.56 billion, to $413 million. Given the current M&A atmosphere, there is a good chance that another player could be spun off, or sold, reshuffling the deck once again.
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Dublin-based Nexvet Biopharma has become the first company to launch a pivotal clinical trial of a monoclonal antibody (mAb) designed to combat pain in dogs with osteoarthritis.
Blaze Bioscience has nabbed a $1.5 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to continue researching its product, called Tumor Paint BLZ-100, which will be studied in people with soft tissue sarcoma. The company was awarded the funding based on the successful completion of a trial in 27 pet dogs with various tumor types.
The Canadian government is pouring $56 million into 12 projects aimed at translating genomic discoveries into marketable products, including several in the animal health industry. The initiative aims to link up academic institutions with users of genomic research, including drug companies, nonprofit agencies, and government bodies.
Even in the midst of a rocky week on the public markets, shares of Wall Street newcomer Phibro Animal Health continued to ride a wave of positive analyst notes and overall investor enthusiasm for the animal health industry.
Hunting of infected boars is being blamed for the spread of African swine fever in Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, according to a top European Commission animal health official, who also rebuffed claims the agency isn't doing enough to fight the virus.
Chronic wasting disease was found in a captive deer population in north-central Iowa, the state's Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said.
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