January 7, 2014
Zoetis: Reborn with a distinct dedication towards animal health
Formerly known as Pfizer Animal Health, newly-rebranded Zoetis seeks to leverage its 60-year legacy of research and marketing achievements.
Built on a strong foundation of its 60-year history as pharmaceutical company Pfizer's animal health subsidiary, Zoetis was established in February 2013 and remains the world's largest producer of livestock vaccines and medicines. Its refreshed brand identity 'Zoetis' combines the elements of 'zoo' and 'etis', which means 'pertaining to life', aptly reflecting the entity it has become today.
Dr Stefan Weiskopf, Zoetis's executive vice president and president for Asia Pacific explains the key implications of its reorganisation and rebranding. "While we were part of a large pharmaceutical company in the past, now animal health is our business. Animal health is the company. This gives a very clear dedication to animal health, because this is our life."
Importantly, built on the existing networks and capabilities of Pfizer Animal Health, Zoetis continues to serve customers worldwide with its global reach and strong local focus.
Global reach, local focus
Indeed, as the world's top animal health company, Zoetis's focus on local livestock needs has also kept it the market leader in the Asia Pacific region.
In fact, it is no surprise that Zoetis has all the elements needed to make an animal health company successful in Asia Pacific - extensive research and development capabilities, well established manufacturing capabilities, a long history of successfully commericalising its R&D products and wide-based customer support.
Within the Asia Pacific region, its research and development centres in Australia, India and China develop products not only for Asia Pacific markets, but also for the other parts of the world.
Similarly, Zoetis's eight manufacturing sites in Australia, New Zealand, India, Taiwan and four in China allows the company to serve customers in Asia Pacific in an expeditious manner, while also supplying other parts of the world from this region. Dr Weiskopf says that although the company already has a good manufacturing footprint, it is always looking to optimise its productive capacity, based on changing market conditions and where the growth is.
In November 2013, Zoetis officiated the ground-breaking of a new plant in Suzhou, China, which will produce Lincomix® feed medication (lincomycin) for the treatment of ileitis, dysentery and mycoplasma pneumonia in pigs. The existing plant in Suzhou will be relocated and expanded. The new facility's larger production capacity will meet the demands of China's market and produce exports to 60 countries.
November's ground breaking ceremony for the construction of
Zoetis's new plant in China's Suzhou province, which is located east of Shanghai
"This is an example of how Zoetis is close to its customers, providing quick and consistent supply, but on the other hand, serving from there, its global markets," Dr Weiskopf illustrates. "In general, the company has a global sourcing model, specialised plants which are producing for the [domestic] market but also for global distribution." The company boosts 29 manufacturing sites in 11 countries to serve its world-spanning customer base.
With local presence in approximately 70 countries, Dr Weiskopf explains the commercial strategy, "One of the strengths of Zoetis is we are present with our field forces in 13 markets in Asia, not only as distributors and working with distributors, but also with our own technical field forces, going direct to farmers or veterinarians to share knowledge and help them solve day to day animal health problems."
Dr Weiskopf adds, "We strive to be a nimble company, with the agility to serve our customers in a direct way. What differentiates us from our competition is this commercial model to serve our customers in a direct way."
Changing landscape calls for new approaches
This 'nimbleness's also plays an important role in the face of ever-changing market conditions, especially in Asia's high growth economies. One trend in the fast-growing Asian markets such as China, Vietnam and Indonesia are the combined impact of high population growth and increasing affluence, resulting in rapid demand growth for high quality animal protein.
In these emerging markets, a structural shift from backyard farms to commercial farms in countries such as China and Vietnam is taking place to support the increased demand for animal protein. This is occurring amid growing demand for improved livestock productivity, including better feed conversion ratios and fewer detrimental environmental effects.
Explaining the company's approach, Dr Weiskopf states that, "Keeping the animals healthy is very important because only healthy animals are productive animals, so this is exactly where we are targeting."
Overall, industrialised production and industry consolidation has increased the scale of livestock farming. With larger production units and larger livestock populations, concerns about animal health are going beyond productivity or disease treatment, with prevention now playing an important role in farms. In fact, looking ahead, the use of biologicals in the prevention of diseases will be a growth driver of Zoetis's business.
As a result of this industrialisation and consolidation, Zoetis is not only dealing directly with larger scale farms today, but is also dealing with integrated feed-to-meat companies which grow their own livestock herds. In response to this, Zoetis reviewed its commercial model and implemented key account management by assigning strategic account managers, in addition to technical and scientific support staff, to meet the business-to-business needs of its customers.
On the disease front, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) remains the swine infection which results in the greatest economic losses. Particularly in China, local highly pathogenic PRRS virus strains urgently require locally-tailored solutions. Through the research efforts of its Chinese joint venture subsidiary, Zoetis launched 'Rui Lan An' PRRS vaccine for China's domestic swine market in August 2013.
This is the first vaccine to be developed by the company's Chinese joint venture subsidiary and is targeted at a China-specific PRRS strain. Rui Lan An is manufactured by the joint venture company, using Zoetis's international expertise to achieve international quality standards.
"The vaccine represents our commitment to help assure a safe, sustainable food supply from healthy food production animals through global scientific expertise and local innovation. It is a key milestone for Zoetis's business in China," says Dr Weiskopf.
Diverse product portfolio drives growth
Today, the over 300 product lines developed by Zoetis span five product lines and eight animal species. These are vaccines, anti-parasite, anti-infectives, medicinal feed additives and other pharmaceutical products for cattle (beef and dairy), swine, poultry, sheep, fish, dogs, cats and horses.
"One of our strengths is that we are a very diversified company, in terms of species and product categories," says Dr Weiskopf. "Zoetis offers products in the five major product categories for eight species."
Development of new compounds, chemical entities and products is only one part of the research, product development and innovation cycle. Another key element is Zoetis's ability to adapt a molecule from an existing product line to treat other diseases within the same species or for other species.
Researchers at Zoetis' laboratory at Kalamazoo, Michigan, the United States
One example of this process at work is Excenel, an anti-infective for cattle, which is sold worldwide as one of Zoetis's major products. Excenel had been used to treat pneumonia in cattle for 25 years when it was further developed to be applicable for the treatment of foot rot.
Excenel's new formulation in the form of Excede sterile suspension is also more stable and a longer lasting version of the same product. In addition, a lower viscosity formula of the same product (Excenel RTU EZ) was recently launched in the United States. Excenel RTU EZ improves syringeability by 40%, thereby enhancing its ease of use by veterinarians and producers.
Dr Weiskopf explains the adaptations, "We enhance our portfolio to provide our customers with ever better solutions because in the end, it is the customer's changing needs that drive our innovation."
Besides new products, new administration schemes complete the entire product offering. While vaccination is a key strategy in keeping livestock healthy, proper timing of vaccinations form an important part of the overall health equation. For instance, in the case of mycoplasma pneumonia (or enzootic pneumonia) in swine, vaccination within the first week after birth is crucial in protecting piglets against infection in an efficient way. Hence such a vaccine needs to be safe for use on swine at an early age.
In terms of species, Dr Weiskopf acknowledges the rising importance of aquaculture in global food production, especially in Asia, although it is a small sector today in comparison to the poultry and swine sectors. To this end, Zoetis acquired specialist Microtek International in 2010 and has since been supplying seafood producers with Terramycin and other Microtek products approved for use in aquaculture.
Growing importance of biologicals
As the largest livestock vaccine provider, Zoetis is also dedicated to developing biologicals for new emerging diseases.
On the use of antibiotics, Dr Weiskopf said, "At Zoetis, we promote the prudent and judicious use of anti-infectives globally." He continued, "In many countries, we support that veterinarians control their use in an efficient and targeted way."
Explaining targeted use, Dr Weiskopf says that Zoetis, through its complementary business with diagnostics, has the capability to provide diagnostic services and recommend targeted treatment. Its portfolio of more than 90 immunodiagnostic products helps to detect viruses, bacteria, antibodies and hormones through antigen-antibody reactions. These products include enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay (ELISA) pathogen tests, Rapid Immuno Migration (RIM™), and agar gel immuno-diffusion (AGID) technologies that veterinarians can use at point of care or in diagnostic reference laboratories.
In addition to prudent and targeted use, biologicals play an important part in the prevention of diseases. With this belief, Zoetis has invested heavily in biologicals, focusing its research activities for this supplement in the American state of Michigan. However, even with the best biologicals, animals can get sick and will still need therapeutics.
"I see today and moving forward, a place for strong prevention products, but also having products that do the therapy if prevention fails for whatever reasons," Dr Weiskopf concludes.
Going global with producers
Increasingly, livestock integrators are expanding their facilities to span across different countries and continents. As their partner in animal health, Zoetis can provide solutions tailored to the unique regional needs of integrated livestock operations scattered around the world.
Dr Weiskopf explains that some of its Asian customers are highly export-oriented. Hence, products need to be registered not only in the country of production, but also the country of consumption for trade purposes.
As Zoetis's global research team develops products, these new products are registered in all key markets, through bodies such as America's Food and Drug Administration, the EU's European Medicines Agency, China's ministry of agriculture, Australia's department of agriculture, fisheries and forestry, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, among other regional authorities.
"Our approach, in this respect, is a global one," says Dr Weiskopf, "submitting registration in a global way to bring those innovations quickly to our customers."
This is the case for Thailand, which has been rather successful in exporting its poultry and seafood to Europe, North American, Japan and Australia, while complying with strict EU regulations on antibiotic levels in livestock and meat. Thai livestock integrators benefit from Zoetis's globally co-ordinated approach, which ensures that its products are approved for use in both Thailand and the countries it exports its meat products to.
Beyond providing animal health solutions, Zoetis supports the Southeast Asian nation's ambition and aims to put it in the forefront of ASEAN's animal sector, through the 'Zoetis Congress for Animal Health', which took place in Bangkok in June this year.
Dr Weiskopf concludes that, "The beauty of Zoetis is having global reach, global resources and the local presence and focus."
Growing with Asia
Today, America remains the world's largest buyer of animal health products and is a very important market for Zoetis. However, from the perspective of the animal health industry's long-term growth, Asia Pacific and Latin America are the world's fastest-expanding economies and present opportunities for the livestock sector.
Dr Weiskopf says that the company's overall aspiration is to grow at or above growth rate of the world animal health market. In that respect, Asia Pacific plays an important role in Zoetis's growth, both today and looking forward.
In the Asia Pacific region, China is one of Zoetis's key markets for growth. In 2011, Zoetis established a joint venture with Jilin Guoyuan Animal Health Company, Ltd., an innovator in animal health vaccines based in based in Jilin province's Huinan Country.
Under the terms of their joint venture agreement, Zoetis and Guoyuan Animal Health co-operate in developing, manufacturing and distributing animal vaccines specifically designed to meet the needs of Chinese livestock producers.
According to Dr Weiskopf , "This joint venture provides clear commitment to China in all three areas of innovation, manufacturing and commercial, to better serve the Chinese livestock producers. "
Indeed, with the largest field force among multinational livestock supplement companies operating in China, Zoetis's dedication to this large market is apparent. Yet, Zoetis continues to explore opportunities from the perspective of innovation, manufacturing and commercial.
"Our investments will follow our diversification, being present in all major regions of the world," says Dr Weiskopf.
Dr Weiskopf concludes on a positive note that "Zoetis's solid representation with our commercial model in all different regions makes the company very solid for growth. Being so well-balanced and well-diversified across regions, species and therapeutic areas makes Zoetis the animal health partner of choice."
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