Integrated Animal Health Inc., with its newly announced global headquarters based in the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, will enter into a 10-year agreement with Northwest Missouri State University to partner with the Dean L Hubbard Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE).
The business and the University will sign an “Intent of Cooperation” in conjunction with a news conference to announce the agreement at 1 p.m. Monday, March 16, in Room 1226 of the Hubbard CIE. Rob Neely, the founder and chief executive officer of Integrated Animal Health in Australia; Dr. Blake Hawley, president and chief executive officer of the company’s American operations; and Shane Svenson, Australian chairman of the company’s board, will join Northwest representatives for the announcement.
Under the agreement, Integrated Animal Health intends to work with the Hubbard CIE and Northwest’s Department of Agricultural Sciences to conduct testing in its analytical laboratory and trials on production animals to improve herd health.
“It is a distinct honor to be able to work with Integrated Animal Health to help them commercialize technology in the animal health arena in North America,” Larry Lee, director of the Hubbard CIE, said. “I look forward to working with their leadership as we collaborate on animal trials and do testing for their broad line of animal health products.”
Integrated Animal Health is unique in what brings to the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, the largest concentration of animal health companies in the world, due to the disruptive technology with which it is working. It has developed natural feed inclusion technologies to help improve mastitis control and fertility rates, decrease antibiotic use in dairy cattle, improve weight gain in dairy calves and feedlot cattle, and institute other technologies deigned to impact both swine and dairy herds through gender selection applications.
Additionally, the company has launched a range of performance supplements into the thoroughbred racehorse industry that target health and speed. Trials conducted at Northwest and its Hubbard CIE are planned to show efficacy in live weight gain in animals such as beef cattle, sheep, swine, poultry and aquaculture.
“Providing adequate protein to the world is one of the key challenges facing people and governments around the world,” Hawley said. “We see Integrated Animal Health playing a significant role in this endeavor, because we will license out our technologies to provide the greatest exposure for improving livestock efficiencies globally.”
Neely added, “Northwest Missouri State University is a natural fit for our U.S. rollout, as along with other species they also have a fully functioning and working dairy on campus. Rod Barr, the chair of the Department of Agricultural Sciences, has a clear passion for developing his students and providing them an opportunity to work hands-on, real-world issues and, in our case, with potentially disruptive technologies. This cooperation will allow the students to play a big role in refining our cutting-edge science and existing technologies. In all likelihood, many will use these technologies in the field during their careers going forward, so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”
Neely, who is coming for the announcement from his Australian base after attending VIV Asia in Bangkok, noted that while the show was big on glitz, it was surprisingly devoid of innovation. “We see our 10-year partnership with Northwest Missouri State University as the beginning of bringing our Silicon Valley style of biotechnology and nanotechnology innovation to the ‘Farmacon Valley’ and the industry as a whole,” he said.
Having spent the last five years transferring human biotechnology into commercial animal health, Neely said Integrated Animal Health has identified a path to commercialization with many of its applications and now looks forward to “harnessing the talent of faculty, graduate students and bright young minds at Northwest Missouri State University.”
The Hubbard CIE is designated a Missouri Innovation Center and was ranked last year by University Business Incubator (UBI) Index at No. 21 in the University Global Top 25 Rankings, a survey of more than 300 incubators in 67 countries.
Located on the north edge of the Northwest campus, the CIE is a mixed-use incubator with emphasis on technology-based, start-up companies. It also provides assistance to existing small businesses and encourages development of new small businesses. The 46,679 square-foot facility includes three lab analysis research areas, a shared scientific instrument room and 9,000 square feet of tenant office space, while the academic wing contains more than 16,000 square feet of highly specialized teaching and research labs and offices.
The facility is positioned within a two-hour driving radius of Kansas City, Des Moines and Omaha, providing companies with access to more than 1.5 million people. At the same time, companies located at the CIE enjoy the benefits of a consistently strong work-ethic and business friendly environment in a smaller rural setting.