By Sian Lazell
Published: 01 October 2015 01:38 PM
Australian firm Integrated Animal Health (IAH) has expanded its global reach by opening offices in Budapest, Hungary, and Auckland, New Zealand.
The Budapest office will be overseen by Dr Laszlo Kiss, IAH European director, while Jo Wrigley, the firm’s New Zealand business development manager, will head the new Auckland office.
Dr Kiss will be responsible for leading business development in addition to distributor and licensing agreements in Europe. He has completed a doctorate of veterinary medicine at the University of Veterinarian Sciences, Budapest, and has a master’s degree in business administration from Central European University, Budapest.
Ms Wrigley will oversee IAH’s business development efforts, licensing and distribution arrangements in New Zealand. She has over 20 years’ experience in animal health, mostly in the New Zealand agricultural and animal health industry, as well as experience in R&D, sales and marketing.
Ms Wrigley has an animal science degree from New Zealand’s Massey University and most recently held the role of managing director at an animal health distribution company.
Both Dr Kiss and Ms Wrigley will focus on expanding the commercialization of IAH’s Udder-Mate mastitis treatment for dairy cows, its Scour-Mate diarrhea treatment, and Equine-Max, a performance supplement for horses.
Exclusive New Zealand distribution deal
In addition to the new offices, IAH also revealed it has secured a distribution partner in New Zealand.
The firm said it will now exclusively distribute its core products through animal health distribution firm Domhealth, which develops and manufactures animal health products nationwide.
Ms Wrigley said: “Domhealth is focused on finding the right solution for a particular farm, and working collaboratively with veterinarians and other industry professionals to achieve the best outcomes.”
Building Kansas City team structure
IAH spoke to Animal Pharm after the 2015 Kansas City Animal Health Investment Forum about its goals to have a global reach for its products, and how it is also now in the process of building its team in the region after opening offices there in 2014.
Chief executive of the firm Rob Neely said: “We’re building the headcount now. We’ve got the structure in place, so now we’re building the company and that means getting the right staff and the right executives involved and that will be the focus for our attention in the immediate future – focusing on who our next key hires are.
“Last year Kim Young (president of the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor) had bankers come and meet us, she had human relations teams, advertising agencies and accountants, real estate, and they all gave us an idea of how to move forward locating in the corridor.
“Fortunately, one of the incubators we went to was the BTBC (Bioscience and Technology Business Center) and I was very impressed. My only concern was that it was some distance from KC and there are closer incubators but in the end, I am so pleased we went there.
“The BTBC later said they were looking for an animal health cornerstone to encourage animal health companies to come to the same location. Once we’d committed to locating there, they revealed they wanted us to be the magnet for other companies locating in the region.”
Dr Blake Hawley, president and chief executive of IAH, added: “When the company was originally founded, the idea was to pull three other companies together to form IAH and then branch out to New Zealand and eventually Asia, on an opportunistic, organic basis.
“However, coming to Kansas City and seeing what the potential was, and beginning to acquire some other technologies, Rob rightfully said we were thinking too small.
“So what we have to do now is build our own infrastructure that will allow us to accelerate all of these technologies that we have. We’ve got lots of innovative ideas from different individuals but we have to turn those peoples’ great ideas into great products – products that are going to be meaningful and impactful to animal health.”
Pipeline of transformative technologies
IAH has around 30 products in its pipeline at present, some of which the firm believes will be able to reduce the need for antibiotics, drugs and pesticides because they are ‘natural’ treatments.
IAH presented four of these products – Udder-Mate, Udder-Mate Genesis, Scour-Mate and its Repellion feed inclusion fly and tick repellent – at the investment forum. Following its presentation, the firm said it has had good feedback from those attending, with one individual describing the company’s work as compelling.
Dr Hawley said the event provided IAH with an opportunity to showcase a part of its extensive pipeline and tell potential partners what the company is about and the different developments it has going on. He told Animal Pharm the company plays a major role in leading technologies through what he described as ‘the valley of death’.
He explained: “Part of our process is that we eliminate ideas that aren’t worth pursuing. We want to make sure that the technologies we bring in have the potential to be products that are transformative to animal health which disrupt the status quo and the market place.
“The problem with a lot of the large pharmaceutical companies is they make incremental adjustments to their products. We don’t want to grow by little increments, we want to grow by making an impact and that’s also why we’re not trying to do everything ourselves.”
US market dependent on the right partner
As for when IAH’s products will hit the US market, Dr Hawley said it is a simple matter of IAH finding the right partner. He revealed discussions with these potential partners are happening at present.
He said: “We hope to have products in the US market place this year but it will be entirely dependent on finding the right partner. We’re not just going to go with the first person who sticks their hand up.
“We’ve already had great feedback from farmers for products such as Scour-Mate, including one who said it is the easiest product he’s ever had to administer on his farm. Another said it was the easiest scours product he’s ever used.”
Mr Neely added: “More than likely we will have the Udder-Mate product in the market reasonably quickly, certainly in this year because talks have now started. With Scour-Mate, I would be very surprised if it’s not on the market in the next few months.
“One thing we do with our products is get it out into the hands of the farmers to let them tell us what’s wrong with it, rather than developing it in a laboratory, testing it on one calf and simply saying it’s a success. We put Scour-Mate out and it’s gone to potentially 900 calves – that’s just the beta version.”
In general, Mr Neely believes IAH’s pipeline is on a par with that of last year’s Animal Pharm Best Pipeline award winner Aratana Therapeutics.
“Some of the large companies are already excited about some of the animal health technologies in our pipeline, so now we’ve got to marry them up and get the right animal health company, for the right product, for the right licensee, to then put it out in a particular territory or globally, whatever the case may be,” he said.
“We’ve got several large companies wanting the same products and the products mentioned in the investment presentation are just the tip of the iceberg.”