Pfizer Animal Health to Acquire Genomics Companies

NEW YORK, US - Pfizer Animal Health today announced it will acquire two market-leading livestock genomics companies.
calendar icon 19 March 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

One of the companies, Catapult Genetics, Pty., Ltd., focused on developing and commercializing innovative livestock DNA tests and gene markers to assist global food producers, processors and retailers in improving profitability and quality in the global food chain, the other, Bovigen, LLC, markets DNA technology, including Catapult’s products in the U.S. and throughout Canada, Central America and South America.

Terms of the agreements were not disclosed. The acquisitions are expected to close by the end of this month. The two companies will continue to market products and services to their own customers as well as Pfizer Animal Health customers.

“This is a strategic initiative that places Pfizer at the forefront of livestock gene marker R&D and enhances Pfizer’s ability to offer more complete solutions to global livestock producers,” said Juan Ramon Alaix, president, Pfizer Animal Health.

Current genetic tests are focused on productivity and carcass quality, while future genetic tests may one day allow producers to better predict disease in individual animals, thus helping veterinarians and producers target medicines to livestock that need it most, Alaix said.

“Catapult’s ongoing product R&D is based on core technology platforms developed in collaboration with research groups in Australia and New Zealand,” said Gerard Davis, chief executive officer, Catapult Genetics. “Now with Pfizer’s added resources and capabilities, we expect livestock producers will begin to see an enhanced range of genetic tools. For sheep and beef cattle producers in Australia and New Zealand there will be benefits from a continued focus on their needs as well as access to new and improved products,” Davis said.

Pfizer will continue to access and draw on the best R&D from Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., and Europe. As novel marker panels are discovered and developed, Pfizer plans to introduce new products and services to livestock producers.

Expanded Support to Beef Producers

“In the U.S., Pfizer also will be able to enhance the development and uptake of new genetic markers identified through Bovigen’s participation in The Carcass Merit Project with Texas A&M University and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. This project, partially funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, is designed to generate new and important markers for U.S. cattle producers,” said Victor Castellon, chief executive officer, Bovigen.

“DNA markers allow beef producers to make better management decisions, to improve the quality of their herd by selecting animals with certain high-valued genetic traits, and to create a long-term, positive economic impact for their business,” said Nigel Evans, senior director of business innovation for Pfizer Animal Health, who will lead the Catapult and Bovigen businesses for Pfizer.

Genetic information also can help guarantee food quality – beef tenderness or well-marbled beef. Gene markers help beef producers to identify better breeding stock.

“Our move today expands Pfizer’s already strong commitment to promoting livestock health and safe, high-quality food around the world,” Evans said.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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