Media Coverage

Avivagen secures Philippines antibiotic alternative approval, more global studies pending


Aug 03, 2016 - Animal Pharm

By Sian Lazell
Animal Pharm News
August 3, 2016

Canadian firm Avivagen has received approval for its OxC-beta Livestock feed additive in the Philippines.

OxC-beta was registered by feed firm UNAHCO as an imported livestock feed additive, authorizing its use in all species in the country. The feed additive is an antibiotic alternative for maintaining optimal health and growth of livestock.

UNAHCO is a wholly-owned feed and veterinary subsidiary of Unilab, the largest pharmaceutical company in the Philippines. It provides a broad range of animal healthcare and nutrition products and programs for large commercial and smaller individual farmers in the Philippines and abroad.

UNAHCO is based in Manila and is the country's leading domestic producer of pig and poultry feed. It has a distribution network with over 3,000 outlets.

Avivagen highlighted the Philippines as an important market for livestock feeds. It said total feed usage in the country is approximately 13 million metric tons (MMT). Around 2.1 MMT is swine feed and 1.7 MMT is for broiler poultry.

The firm said compared to Canada, the Philippines produces an approximately equal amount of pork and 1.5 times the amount of broiler poultry. Avivagen is initially looking to Asia for commercialization of OxC-beta's livestock applications, as the continent represents the world's largest feed market.

Elcid Paraso, senior manager of technical services at UNAHCO, said: "We have tested OxC-beta Livestock and concluded that it aligns with UNAHCO's industry-leading green platform strategy 'Safe Feed = Safe Food'. We're very excited to have registered this innovative and unique product for use in the Philippines and will advise on its commercial availability over the coming months."

Trial results positive

Prior to its approval for all livestock species in the Philippines, Avivagen revealed results of four new trials of OxC-beta as a feed additive for swine in the Philippines and Vietnam, and broiler poultry in the Philippines and Spain.

In swine, the firm worked with the National Institute of Animal Sciences for Vietnam to evaluate the use of OxC-beta in pre-wean and post-wean stages, compared to antibiotic-supplemented and non-supplemented swine.

Results showed OxC-beta significantly improved the major commercial parameters of average daily gain (ADG), final body weight (FBW), feed conversion ratio (FCR) and rates of diarrhea and mortality, compared to non-supplemented animals.

The benefits of ADG, FBW, FCR, diarrhea and mortality achieved with OxC-beta were equivalent against a "widely-used" antibiotic regimen.

Avivagen added that a prospective customer's starter-grower trial in the Philippines also had a positive outcome. Animals fed with OxC-beta had lower morbidity and mortality rates than unsupplemented swine and those given other antibiotic-alternative feed supplements.

The firm said: "These two new swine trials represent the fourth and fifth positive swine trials reported by Avivagen, supplementing prior studies by Atlantic Veterinary College (Canada), NIAS (Vietnam) and COFCO NHRI (China), each of which have been previously reported."

One of these previous studies indicated OxC-beta alone supports optimal growth performance and protects against disease challenges.

In poultry, the Spanish Institute of Agro-food Research and Technology of Catalonia (IRTA) conducted a new trial in broiler poultry facing dietary and crowding stressors.

In the study, all bird groups exceeded the targeted growth performance for the breed despite the presence of stressors. OxC-beta did not provide statistically significant growth benefits for birds already performing above breed expectations but Avivagen said this was expected.

UNAHCO also co-sponsored a trial in broiler poultry in the Philippines, comparing birds given OxC-beta to unsupplemented birds and those given antibiotics in addition to antiparasitics.

The trial indicated OxC-beta groups matched the performance level of the antibiotic and antiparasitic birds.

Previous poultry trials of OxC-beta included a study which suggested the feed additive improves prevention of necrotic enteritis.

Future studies in pipeline

Avivagen said based on the results of its latest studies and previous trials, it plans to conduct further studies in swine and broiler poultry to optimize protocols, facilitate regulatory approvals, encourage commercial adoption and expand use in those species.

The firm said broiler poultry and swine feeds comprise around 55% of the global feed market. However, it is also aiming to conduct trials in egg-laying hens, dairy cattle and beef cattle, which constitute over 30% more of the global feed market.

Cameron Groome, chief executive and president of Avivagen, told Animal Pharm:

"At this time we are planning further trials in China for registration purposes and furthering applications, and for applications in the Philippines. We may also conduct further trials in other locations in Asia and elsewhere, but China and the Philippines are the countries where we have firm plans at the moment.

"Our initial foci are broilers and swine, so near-term trials will be in those indications. For broilers, we have strong data from healthy birds and those facing challenge from subclinical necrotic enteritis (i.e. C perfringens). We may therefore look at new dosing and administration regimens in healthy birds‎ and assess the level of protection against other subclinical or clinical pathogen challenges.

"In swine, it will be much the same further testing as for broilers, although we plan to also evaluate the effects of giving OxC-beta Livestock to sows, focusing on the health and productivity of both the sow and her litter.

"Of note, we plan to submit articles on our broiler and swine results for publication by peer-reviewed journals. As we have done for our fundamental discoveries, with four published papers thus far.

"Beyond the very near term, there are opportunities to use OxC-beta Livestock in other food animal species. That would include layer and breeder poultry, dairy and beef cattle and for aquaculture. Of those, we'll likely pursue dairy cattle first, as we already have in vivo proof-of-concept data in that space."

OxC-beta is based on the Avivagen's research into carotenoid antioxidants. Aside from developing OxC-beta for use in livestock feeds, the firm is also developing the product for companion animals and to help maintain optimal health in humans.

In September 2015, Avivagen launched its Vivamune Vital Health Chews with pet retailers in the US.

The company previously told Animal Pharm it is developing two potential blockbusters for the animal health industry.

Reprinted with permission of Animal Pharm News

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