Ceva vows an ‘extremely responsive’ approach to U.S. animal health market

Pigs

Ceva Animal Health has spent the last few years building its footprint in North America. In 2014, for example, it poured more than $8 million into expanding its U.S. presence, which included building up its Lenexa, KS-based operations. But the company has gotten a message from veterinarians that bigger isn’t necessarily better--and now it’s vowing to adopt a responsive approach to meeting market needs.

That was the message from Gary Robertson, Ceva’s director of its North American swine business, at the recent American Association of Swine Veterinarians annual meeting in New Orleans. "CEVA has been working behind the scenes for four to five years on an R&D pipeline of products, and we have also been having numerous meetings and customer interactions to better understand what the unmet needs are in the marketplace," Robertson told the Pig Site during the meeting. "One thing veterinarians have told us is they need the ability to be extremely responsive." 

One of the company’s priorities, Robertson said, is custom vaccines. The ability to respond quickly to emerging diseases with novel vaccines “really allows us to aggressively and quickly address unmet needs,” he said.

Ceva, which is based in France, scored one major vaccine coup in the U.S. last October, when the USDA selected the company to manufacture doses of an avian flu vaccine for an emergency stockpile. The USDA chose Ceva’s vaccine, as well as one from Merck-owned Harrisvaccines, because of their efficacy against the Eurasian H5 strains of the virus. It was the H5N2 strain of the virus that led to the culling of about 50 million birds last year.

In March, Ceva announced that its poultry business helped push its 2015 revenues up 12% to €857 million ($939 million). Ceva CEO Marc Prikazsky has made it clear that he wants the company to earn a place amongst the top 5 animal health firms by 2020.

Ceva has grown largely through acquisition, making a big push into the companion animal market by acquiring another French company, Sovegal, in 2013, for example. But the company decided to enter the swine market without relying on acquisitions. That has forced its executives to spend a lot of time in the field, polling food producers and veterinarians about what their biggest needs are, Robertson said in the Pig Site interview.

"When you are a company that is out starting from scratch, we are going to fight. We are going to work hard,” Robertson said. “We are going to earn your trust."

- here’s the Pig Site’s story and video

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