The companies have entered into an eight-year long agreement aimed at expanding the adoption and use of OxC-beta in those three “high-value” feed markets. They are also set to collaborate on development efforts to widen the product's use in aquaculture segments such as shrimp production.
The OxC-beta technology is derived from Avivagen's R&D work around β-carotene and other carotenoids. “Through support of immune function, the technology provides a non-antibiotic means of promoting health and growth.”
There had been a lot of interest from potential partners for OxC-beta, but AB Vista’s expertise and track record set it apart, said the Canadian firm.
“We are continuing discussions with other large companies about distribution deals in other jurisdictions: Japan, South Korea, Europe,” Drew Basek, director of investor relations, Avivagen, told FeedNavigator.
The most successful markets so far for the product have been the Philippines and Mexico, he said.
“The US and China are the world’s largest markets, and, to date, we have not had any sales there. With regards to the US, the main issue has been that we currently only have GRAS approval there, which allows us to sell in some states but not in others. As such, it is a non-starter for the large producers who do not what to have to deal with such inconsistencies. We are close to finishing our toxicology paper in the US, meaning we are closer to obtaining our non-objection letter from the FDA. Once achieved, we can sell our product throughout the US.
“However, we do not have a sales force and AB Vista does, and it has relationships we do not have and other product offerings which can make a sale much easier,” said the Avivagen spokesperson.
Looking at Brazil, that country has a very complex tax structure, and AB Vista also has the capabilities to deal with such challenges, explained Basek.
Pending market registrations
“As for China, we are very close to getting approval there and, once achieved, we plan to sell directly to producers.”
Avivagen has been using a very well-connected Chinese intermediary to make those connections, he said.
Product approval in Vietnam is close as well, while the Mexican market continues to grow, with a number of large trials underway there, added Basek.
A paper on the feed additive was published recently in Poultry Science: Effect of Oxidized β-Carotene (OxBC) on the Growth and Feed Efficiency of Broilers. It documented the outcome of two trials: The first study was conducted in Canada, with birds being reared under typical commercial conditions for broiler production in Ontario, and the second run in Scotland, again under typical commercial conditions.
In both trials, birds in the OxC-beta groups achieved improved growth performance measures, including average daily weight gain and feed utilization efficiency, when compared to birds in control groups, noted Avivagen. “These findings demonstrate that dietary supplementation with OxC-beta helps broiler poultry achieve their full growth potential under real world commercial conditions without the use of antibiotics,” said the producer.