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Partnering for progress: Recap of the Animal Health, Nutrition and Technology Innovation Europe conference

Partnering for progress: Recap of the Animal Health, Nutrition and Technology Innovation Europe conference

This month in London, industry stakeholders gathered at the annual Animal Health, Nutrition and Technology Innovation Europe conference. Participants discussed industry key topics—from increased humanisation of pets to the necessity for sustainable livestock farming to ensure food security for a growing global population. The conference served as a strategic forum to address these trends and challenges and accelerate innovation within the industry.

A peak into companion animal health trends

Increased humanisation of pets and higher spending on pet care by younger generations has further fuelled innovation. Speakers mentioned novel therapies, technology that connects pets with their owners, and other forms of innovation (i.e., subscription models for veterinary care, providing alternative treatment options) as upcoming trends. 

Erik Haaksma of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health underscored the potential of translational research and development. He said, “We are looking at cross-over areas between human and animal health in four areas: chronic kidney disease, cancer, immune disorders, anxiety and stress.”

Merck Animal Health's Christine Royal shared an outlook with personalised care and attention, novel therapies, like monoclonal antibodies, and early disease detection. “We have the chance to change our thinking on where in the disease process we can intervene,” said Christine. “For example, we treat the pain that comes with osteoarthritis, but can we intervene earlier to delay the disease and improve animal wellbeing?”

Other sessions also illuminated the possibilities of preventive healthcare strategies and personalised animal health solutions, setting the tone for a forward-thinking approach.

Innovation opportunities for sustainable production

Common themes in the conversations about livestock were food security, sustainable farming, and disease prevention. Ranveer Chandra, Chief Technology Officer of Agri-Food at Microsoft, stated the need of increased food production due to the rising global population, and-at the same time-decreasing environmental impact. This was echoed by Aaron Schacht, CEO at BiomEdit, who provided an overview of current products that address either methane reduction or increased productivity, pointing out the opportunity to find a solution that does both. “Creating early strategic partnerships is important,” Aaron Schacht said, “We have to use everyone’s knowledge and experience to move innovation forward.”

Collaboration as catalyst for change

The conference emphasised the significance of partnerships in driving progress. Elanco’s Jeff Simmons advocated for a culture that embraces risk in development projects, calling for enhanced collaboration between established companies and external innovation. This sentiment was shared by Rob Kelly of MSD Animal Health, emphasising the balance between short-term, low-risk projects and long-term, high-risk innovation endeavours.

Spotlight on innovation

The event also spotlighted innovative start-ups, celebrating their achievements in advancing animal health technologies.

In the food producing animal space, Dalan Animal Health was recognised for the world's first-ever honeybee vaccine, marking a pivotal milestone for the industry. EnsiliTech was praised for their novel technology that prevents vaccine spoilage, improves shelf-life, and increases vaccine accessibility globally.

The awards in the companion animal category went to ASTRA Therapeutics for their mission to design and develop novel, precision engineered drugs against eukaryotic pathogens, and to Wimba for their innovative work to create and deliver products to restore animal mobility for good.

The conference recognised Torigen, Inc. with the inaugural Calan Smith Innovation Award, spotlighting their contribution to cancer treatment in pets and their commitment to leveraging the immune system in therapeutic applications.


The conference concluded with a resounding endorsement of the collective effort and the importance of synergistic partnerships. It highlighted the role of each participant, from start-ups to 'big pharma', in contributing to the industry's growth, and the health and well-being of animals globally.

In closing, the event underscored a shared industry vision: to champion the health of animals through innovative, sustainable, and collaborative efforts.

Healthy Animals. Let’s Make It Happen, Together.

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