Guelph poultry vaccine maker, vet drug maker sold

A Guelph company making and selling a gel delivery system for coccidiosis vaccines for chickens and turkeys will become an arm of a French-based global animal health player.

Ceva Sante Animale, formerly known as Sanofi Sante Nutritional Animale, said Monday it will buy Vetech Laboratories, makers of Immucox vaccines, for an undisclosed sum.

Vetech started at 1983 at Rockwood, Ont., developing variations on the “uniform exposure” vaccine delivery model first proposed by company founder Dr. Eng Lee, including the gel puck and gel-spray droplet delivery systems the company now uses.

The gel vaccines are now used in over 40 countries, distributed worldwide from Ontario and from Vetech’s U.S. distribution centre at Buffalo, N.Y.

Production of Vetech’s Immucox vaccines for breeders, layers, broilers, roasters and turkeys “will remain primarily in Canada,” Ceva said in a release.

Ceva’s U.S. operations “can be scaled, and the company plans to deploy certain technologies in the U.S. with this specific virus strain,” the buyer said in its release.

In its statement Monday, Ceva predicted the use of vaccines to prevent coccidiosis in poultry will become even more widespread, given an “enforced global reduction of in-feed anti-coccidial products.”

Buying Vetech also allows Ceva “to expand our poultry vaccine range from respiratory to also include intestinal health,” CEO Marc Prikazsky said.

The deal also makes Ceva the owner of Poultry Puck, Vetech’s gel form of vitaminized water for chicks and poults. The gel pucks are often used when shipping hatchlings, as they allow the birds to stay hydrated without getting soaked during transport.

Veterinary goods

Vetech was not Ceva’s only stop in Guelph this week. Ceva also announced a deal Monday to buy CentaurVA Animal Health, a manufacturer of products and drugs for use by small- and large-animal vet clinics.

CentaurVA, an arm of Centaur Pharmaceuticals (formerly John E. Slinger Ltd.), has a broad product line including anti-anxiety drugs, nutraceuticals, skin care, gastrointestinal drugs, joint health products, oral health products and vitamins for various types of animals.

Its roster of large-animal products includes BotVax, a clostridium vaccine; Quiex Forte, a bronchodilator and expectorant for horses; Gamma-Check blood diagnostic kits for horses and cattle; and Equiplas, a plasma treatment for horses.

Terms of that deal also weren’t disclosed Monday, although Ceva said the CentaurVA deal will provide it “with an excellent base for its expansion in the Canadian market.”

“The move helps in marketing and distributing current Ceva products… and will serve as a strong foundation for future product launches,” Craig Wallace, Ceva’s North America zone director, said in a separate release.

“Canada is an important world economy where we needed to have a direct presence,” Prikazsky said. “Integrating the two companies will lead to an expansion of networks for both teams, and continues Ceva’s growth into new markets. “

Formerly a Sanofi-Aventis subsidiary based at Libourne, east of Bordeaux, France, Ceva formed in a split from the parent company through a series of leveraged buyouts by management and their financial backers between 1999 and last year.

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