Integrated Animal Health helps bring game-changing animal health products to market

Integrated Animal Health connects emerging technologies with the livestock industry’s established companies and distributors. With a focus on working with developers of new technologies, Integrated Animal Health strives to produce alternatives to antibiotics, hormone therapies, pesticides, and other animal healthcare products. With the increasing government regulation of what goes into food and food products, in addition to growing consumer demand for…

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integrated_animal_health_featured

Dr. Blake Hawley, President and CEO of Integrated Animal Health LLC at a Pipeline Entrepreneurs Event. Photo courtesy of Pipeline Entrepreneurs.

Integrated Animal Health connects emerging technologies with the livestock industry’s established companies and distributors.

With a focus on working with developers of new technologies, Integrated Animal Health strives to produce alternatives to antibiotics, hormone therapies, pesticides, and other animal healthcare products.

With the increasing government regulation of what goes into food and food products, in addition to growing consumer demand for products perceived as healthy, Dr. Blake Hawley, President and CEO of Integrated Animal Health LLC feels that they have found a sweet spot.

“We feel that we’re developing and commercializing some patented natural technologies for the livestock health care market for them to do both what the consumer wants and what the government wants,” said Hawley.­ “We’re helping [farmers, ranchers, and dairy producers] to do that in a way that lets them continue to increase their production.”

They initially focused on a number of important, costly animal health problems including mastitis and fly control, and these products are already in distribution.

“[But that’s] really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we have,” Hawley said. “We’re working on products that are across equine and companion animal. Some of them are OTC, some of them are pharmaceuticals; we’re actually working on [a number of vaccines].”

Challenging the status quo

Demonstrating the strengths of alternatives to antibiotics and pesticides isn’t just about convincing consumers to change their purchasing habits. Shifting the status quo requires impacting the opinions of investors as well, and this can be a substantial challenge.

“We have to develop drugs. If you think about an FDA drug, it will cost about $4 to $­5 million­ and usually much more in the animal health space. We’re dedicated to raising the money, but the competitors who have not performed make it harder because it makes investors a little more wary,” said Hawley.

Tapping the animal health corridor

With their global headquarters in Lawrence, Kansas, IAH’s ideal location allows them to connect with innovators along the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor: a space along I­-70 between Manhattan, Kansas, and Columbia, Missouri, that houses companies representing over half of the world’s animal health, diagnostic and pet food sales, according to KC Animal Heath Corridor’s website.

“In order for us to fulfill the model we have, ­it would be very expensive for us to go out and hire [experts in these varied fields],” said Hawley. “But the Animal Health Corridor is like a big playground. This space along the I­-70 corridor is full of expertise that we can tap into.”

Going global in three years

Founded in February of 2014 in Australia, IAH has made huge strides in their three years in business. What was originally an Australian company has expanded to New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Belarus. They added their European office, based in Hungary, last year, just signed a distribution agreement with the Ukraine, and hope to have their first US customers shortly.

“It feels like every day has been a defining moment,” said Hawley, who joined IAH in February 2015. “From moving our global headquarters [to Lawrence] to signing our first licensing deal outside Australia; our first R&D grant; getting into Pipeline and being challenged to look at things differently; our first USDA grant ­ and hopefully, our first US partners.”

The Pipeline experience

Dr. Hawley is a 2016 Pipeline Fellow. Every year Pipeline Entrepreneurs invites a small number of entrepreneurs to join their rigorous, year long leadership and business development program. The opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs outside the animal health space is one of Pipeline’s strengths.

“There’s a term that’s used a lot at Pipeline: ‘We need to raise relationships before we raise money.’ And Pipeline, in many cases, gives people that warm introduction. It’s not a sales pitch. It’s just, ‘Let me connect this person with that person and see what happens,'” said Hawley.

Sarah Kugler is an Iowa-based writer. Her professional interests include the animal health care industry and the future of the liberal arts in higher education.

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