The two companies have already started collaborating, the contract signed off yesterday has formalized the existing relationship, said Dr Javier Martín-Tereso, manager ruminant research, Trouw Nutrition.
“The collaboration agreement is open ended," he added.
With common, strategic objectives in relation to animal health, Bayer and Trouw Nutrition have no conflict of interest issues as they are non-competing as organizations, he told us.
Aiming to promote animal well-being and sustainable farm profitability by enhancing the nutritional and health performance of farm animals, the teams are initially focusing on dairy production, with the possibility to expand into beef cattle production, and into other farmed animal species.
“For now, the focus is very much on dairy," said Martín-Tereso.
The two companies have complementary capabilities: "Bayer is very strong on in-depth biology, at the cellular level, on mode of action; it has a more fundamental approach to [understanding] metabolic and gut health, we are strong on the use of animal models for research into nutritional health. So we want to exploit our complementary profiles and shared objectives in dairy production systems.”
Metabolic cell disorders
The collaboration is, ultimately, about extending the longevity of cows, because this is the most critical factor for efficiency. He said most of the health conditions in cows that lead to culling are related to nutrition. “They are metabolic cell disorders.”
The Bayer and Trouw Nutrition research teams talk on a regular basis and there is an official meeting structure, he said.
“Distance is not a limitation given that the Bayer team is based in Mannheim, near the Dutch border, in Germany. What really brings the value is the constant communication between the two research teams.”
The ambition, eventually, is to spin off new products and new applications. “That is the end goal,” said Martín-Tereso.