Elanco Animal Health Inc. has aquired Montreal-based Prevtec Microbia Inc., a biotechnology startup specializing in the development of vaccines that help prevent bacterial diseases in food animals.
Prevtec is the maker of the Coliprotec line of vaccine products designed to protect pigs against post-weaning diarrhea and associated clinical signs caused by E. coli. E. coli is a highly prevalent pathogen causing disease in swine production without effective non-antibiotic control options. It affects up to 50% of all weaned pigs, leading to diarrhea, suppressed appetite, weight loss and mortality. The disease has a considerable effect on animal well-being and is a major cause of economic loss for swine operations. In Europe, mortality due to PWD has an estimated cost of 15,000 euros per year for a 500-sow herd.
“Elanco’s partnership with Prevtec has been very successful and has resulted in delivery of an important non-antibiotic solution for swine producers,” says Ramiro Cabral, executive vice president of International for Elanco. “This acquisition is another example of our approach to partner with companies to introduce novel innovation and further demonstrates our commitment to introduce antibiotic alternatives through internal or external innovation pathways.”
Elanco was the exclusive distributor for Coliprotec in Canada and Europe. These vaccine products are particularly important in Europe given the EU’s direction to phase out the use of the antibiotic colistin and zinc oxide, both among the ways producers protect against E.coli today. The transaction also brings Prevtec’s research and development programs to Elanco’s pipeline.
By acquiring Prevtec and bringing the Coliprotec line into Elanco’s swine portfolio, Elanco will look to expand registration to other key geographies. Offering a full range of alternative solutions is particularly important given alternatives do not typically have the same broad spectrum of activity antibiotics deliver. With more than 1 billion pigs marketed globally each year, pork is the most widely consumed protein and a significant market opportunity.
In the past year, Elanco has taken a number of strategic steps to advance the company for greater success in the swine industry. This includes launching the Prevacent PRRS vaccine and a recently announced agreement with AgBiome to deliver innovative probiotic solutions to producers’ greatest gut health challenges. These efforts further demonstrate Elanco’s commitment to antibiotic stewardship and represents now a full suite of alternatives from vaccines to nutritional health products like enzymes and probiotics to provide solutions to producers’ most difficult challenges.
Elanco is committed to bringing greater clarity and collaboration to issues around antibiotic stewardship. The company released an aggressive, multi-faceted eight-point Antibiotic Stewardship Plan in 2015 that includes 1) increasing responsible antibiotic use; 2) reducing the need for shared-class antibiotics; and 3) replacing antibiotics with alternatives to help livestock producers treat and prevent animal disease. The plan includes a commitment to deliver antibiotic alternatives, such as vaccines, enzymes and probiotics.
Under the terms of the agreement, Elanco acquired the company, including inventory and pipeline assets in an all-cash deal for CAD $78.5 million (approx. $59.9 million USD). The agreement also includes a contingent payment of up to CAD $21.5 million (approx. $16.4 million USD) to the former Prevtec shareholders in Q1 2022, if certain sales milestones are achieved in 2021.