Elanco shifts focus on dairy research to address diseases, animal health

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis contact

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock
Elanco Animal Health shifts dairy portfolio work to cover microbiome-based products, ways to protect or support animal health and a focus on addressing disease challenges.

The Indiana-based animal health company announced its change of focus last week. Elanco is a division of Eli Lilly and Company.

The change is part of an assessment of the company’s dairy portfolio, a spokesperson told FeedNavigator.

“Elanco made a strategic decision to shift our dairy portfolio focus to allow us to increase our investment in future innovation bringing new tools that help farmers protect animal health, enhance animal care and improve profitability,”​ she added.

Digestive health 

Elanco said it is increasing its efforts on ways to address digestive health. The work includes exploring the potential of influencing the microbiome through use of non-medicated feed additives:

“Last year, Elanco created a nutritional health business to focus on early disease prevention with non‐medicated feed additives, like enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics, which can improve microbiome health, helping protect from disease even before clinical signs develop,”​ the spokesperson told us. “This endeavor came from our antibiotic 8-point plan, as non-medicated feed additives could lessen the need for antibiotics.”

The new focus is designed to give the company more flexibility to address and offer products aimed at addressing animal health, improving animal care and boosting profitability, said the firm.

The dairy industry continues to have unmet needs and areas where innovation is lacking, said the compapny. Dairy cows also continue to see physiological and metabolic changes that may alter energy balance and immune function, it added.

The company has established several priority areas for its continuing research and innovation efforts. These include work on ways to address bovine respiratory disease, mycoplasma and mycobacterium.

The diseases can be difficult to treat, it said. And, in the case of mycobacterium, there is no current treatment although it may lead to diseases like Johne’s or TB, said Elanco.

Potential 'For sale' sign on rbST product 

As part of the shift in focus, the company is exploring options regarding the future of its rbST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) product, the company said. Possibilities include finding a buyer for both the molecule and its manufacturing facility in Augusta, Georgia.

That product was approved​ for use in the US in 1993 and was intended for use with lactating dairy cows to increase milk production.

There are a range of options for the future of rbST, so the company is not speculating on the next step at this time, said the spokesperson. 

“We are shifting our focus and optimizing our investments in new products to help farmers protect animal health, enhance animal welfare, and improve profitability.

“This decision was made following normal portfolio reviews as a part of strategic planning. The same process is what guides decisions made about research and development areas of focus," ​she said.

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