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Partnership between TechAccel and Reliance Animal Health Partners will focus on animal health innovation

TechAccel recently announced a novel partnership with Reliance Animal Health Partners to focus exclusively on bringing animal health innovations to market under the name of Covenant Animal Health Partners.

Covenant is dedicated to the development and registration of “revenue-ready” animal health products. It will address critical market needs across production and companion animals, and will advance new assets into industry partner portfolios.

“This new enterprise assembles an all-star team of industry leaders with first-hand know-how in product development,” said Michael Helmstetter, Ph.D., president and CEO of TechAccel. “Covenant will identify and advance new technologies to market, as well as operate external innovation programs for the global animal health industry.”

The partnership combines TechAccel’s technology and venture development and advancement focus with the expertise of Reliance’s four partners, who have decades of experience in international animal health companies.

Thomas Overbay, D.V.M., of Reliance who, along with Helmstetter, will serve as a Covenant board member and managing director, said the ongoing consolidation in the $26 billion animal health industry creates significant opportunity for Covenant.

“Research and development budgets are tightening up across animal health firms,” said Helmstetter. “As a result, they will primarily fund projects with the largest revenue potential and lowest risk. We see a significant opportunity to develop products that address real market needs, but do not clear the internal development hurdles of large animal health companies. Covenant will quickly and cost effectively advance these assets and then match them with leading animal health manufacturers and distributors.”

Brett Morris, CFA®, Principal with TechAccel, who led the Covenant deal, said the new venture is already working on projects for companion and production animal markets. Terms of the deal and the projects were not disclosed.

“The market is hungry for external product support,” said Morris. “Covenant’s thesis is to develop new products for approval by the appropriate regulatory agencies and sell those registrations to animal health companies. The industry is looking for ways to increase revenue and expand their product portfolio without consuming internal research and development dollars, and we intend to fulfill that need.”

Covenant does not plan to market and distribute its own products to compete with animal health firms. Rather, the company will generate income via asset sales or licensing deals, Morris said.

Covenant will leverage TechAccel’s established network, infrastructure and resources. Covenant’s team includes the three other founders of Reliance, along with Overbay:

  • Thomas Campi, D.V.M., former director of external innovation at Elanco
  • Thomas Kennedy, Ph.D., who held senior R&D leadership roles with Boehringer Ingelheim’s Animal Health business unit, the former Mallinckrodt Veterinary Inc., Bayer Animal Health, and Central Life Sciences
  • Robert Nordgren, Ph.D., who is the former R&D executive for Boehringer Ingelheim and former lead of global vaccines and biotherapeutics at Merial

“We are delighted to welcome these long-time industry leaders, now aligned as Covenant, to the Animal Health Corridor,” said Kimberly Young, President of the KC Animal Health Corridor. “Covenant’s unique business model will leverage – and contribute to – the collaboration and innovation that the Corridor delivers.”

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