In this BBHIC interview, Drew Basek from Avivagen discusses why the company is focused on the livestock market.
While Avivagen (TSXV:VIV) is focused on developing and commercializing products that improve health in humans and a range of animals, including livestock, it is far from a biotech or pharmaceutical company.
Avivagen’s two core products, OxC-beta Livestock and Vivamune Health Chews, each have different health benefits for livestock and pets.
At the Bloom Burton & Co. Healthcare Investor Conference earlier this month, the Investing News Network (INN) had the opportunity to catch up with Drew Basek, director of Avivagen, to discuss the company’s products and what Avivagen has going on this year.
Speaking about OxC-beta, Basek said that various feeding trials have proven that it has health benefits over supplemental vitamin A.
Essentially, OxC-beta can potentially remove the need for antibiotics as growth promoters in livestock feed, and also helps an animal’s immune system when it is under fire or stress. “It works across species, and depending on the species, it works as well or better than antibiotics,” he explained.
Basek said that when OxC-beta is given to animals, particularly pigs, it enhances the animal’s immune system and acts as an anti-inflammatory, because they are not fighting off pathogens and bacteria. He noted that, instead, it makes them stronger.
“The (animals) gain their weight faster and they consume less food because they don’t have to use up calories fighting off all these bugs,” he said. “So that’s what’s great about it.”
OxC-beta can also help when antibiotic use is virtually impossible, such as in milk-producing dairy cows.
Currently, OxC-beta is available in the Philippines, but Basek said that Avivagen has received “generally regarded as safe designation” for the product in the US. This approval allowed Avivagen to sign a deal with CSA Animal Nutrition in February. The agreement will have CSA work to scale research, fulfill sales and distribute OxC-beta for poultry, swine and dairy cattle in the US.
Meanwhile, the company’s Vivamune product is a daily supplement for dogs and cats to improve life and optimize health. The product has been formulated with the OxC-beta compound and aims to treat joint, skin and digestive health in pets. While Basek said the product has been available in the US for “a number of years,” it was only last June when it officially became available in Canada.
The product takes about two weeks to work, and Basek gave the example of a Jack Russell terrier who couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs prior to taking Vivamune, but could do so two weeks after taking it.
Despite its success with Vivamune, Basek noted that Avivagen’s focus is primarily on the livestock market “because it’s huge.” In addition to the US, the company has targeted Asia.
In mid-April, the company announced its continued expansion in the Asian market with an order for OxC-beta. Basek said Avivagen’s products are not yet available in China, but it has a number of distribution agreements with companies in Asia, and has been able to get its product approved in markets like Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia.
In the US, the hope is that the company will soon get its first sale in the country and things will “really start snowballing” for Avivagen and potentially de-risk the stock.
“Once (people) see it being sold in the US, a lot of other countries will go, ‘Okay,'” Basek said.
Basek said the company is also getting close to more country approvals for OxC-beta, including Mexico and Brazil. He added that, while the company previously signed a deal with dog behaviorist Cesar Millan for Vivamune, the idea is now to sign an agreement to help sell the product online.
“If we did that, that would be tremendous … even though the big thing that’s going to drive this company is livestock, the pet market is huge and (Vivamune) really works,” he said. “It’s not a treat, it’s a supplement.”
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Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.