US business, TechAccel LLC, and its partner announced the launch of Covenant Animal Health Partners at the end of August. The joint company is set to focus on bringing to market products to address animal health needs including in areas like products to support growth promotion or address diseases.
Reliance Animal Health Partners was a consulting group comprised of industry members focused on evaluating and identifying technologies of interest for the global animal health industry.
The goal of the partnership is to bring forward new products to the point where are “revenue-ready,” said Brett Morris, CFA and principal-manager of investments with TechAccel. This could include bringing products through the registration phase along with completing development and establishing manufacturing.
“It will really launch us in front and center to the animal health industry,” he told FeedNavigator. “We’re looking to build, within Covenant, to build our own proprietary portfolio of assets and fill those market gaps for industry players such as manufacturers and distributors, and we’re looking to partner directly with a few of those industry leaders where they’re pursuing external innovation programs.”
Previously, TechAccel has focused on supporting upcoming technology in animal health and nutrition, the agricultural sector overall and food science, he said. The Covenant partnership is anticipated to work with technologies further along the development process than where TechAccel has focused.
“There is a line of what is too early stage for Covenant and what is just right to fit the model,” he said. “We might do an early proof of concept study – throw it in the animal and see if it works – those kinds of high risk, early-stage studies and if those [have] successful outcomes then [the technologies] could be brought into Covenant.”
The product lines developed are expected to be across the range of production animals and include work for companion animals, he said. One goal is to address gaps or market needs.
“Food safety continues to be an area of interest, certainty prevention and treatment of disease [and] looking for new ways to promote growth in livestock animals,” said Morris. “Vaccines, solutions for growth promotion in livestock animals, anything that can increase productivity and ROI [return on investment] for the farmer and certainly there is an issue of resistance to disease that needs to be overcome and food safety are some of the issues that we’ll be looking at.”
The joint company is expected to draw potential products from several places, said Morris. These include through industry contacts, university projects, startup efforts and looking at translating some human health technologies into the animal health sector.
With the ongoing consolidation in the animal health sector, research and development budgets can focus on a few “blockbuster” products, he said. “There are other products that might be stranded or stalled on the shelf that we could help them fund and develop and bring to a revenue-ready state, which is something that’s very attractive some of so of these folks,” he added.
By this point next year, the company is planning to have more projects started and potentially to have established partners from some of the larger companies within the industry to address stranded or stalled technologies, Morris said.
The joint company already has several projects in consideration, but more details are not being released at this time, he said.
Partnership and product development
The idea for the partnership started with work that TechAccel had already been doing with members of Reliance Animal Health, said Morris. Members of the company had previously consulted with TechAccel on development projects.
“We invest pretty broadly across agriculture, animal health, and food science so we were already doing some things in animal health and looking for opportunities there from a technology and startup perceptive,” he said.
However, some of the members of Reliance Animal Health had been considering how to start a company focused on developing and registering new products, he added.
The process would involve supporting a technology from an early stage through the regulatory process and eventually selling the finished products to an animal health company, he said. TechAccel already had a background and infrastructure to support product development.
“There will be some interesting synergies between TechAccel and Covenant,” he said. “We’ll still continue to do some early stage proof of concept studies that might be highly risky projects in TechAccel and if those are successful outcomes, then we’ll launch them into Covenant and take them further down the regulatory path.”
The development process also will include taking the products through basic manufacturing, said Morris.
“We’ll be working with manufacturers to make sure those things are prepackaged and ready to go, and then bring them through the regulatory process,” he said. “Making sure you have the right chemistry manufacturing controls section complete and lined up and then getting those up to the point where we’ve received the registrations from the regulatory agencies so all the company needs to do, whether it’s the distributor or manufacturer is to start marketing and selling the product once we’ve delivered it to them.”
Covenant will monetize the process by selling off the approved products to companies within the animal health industry, he said.