The alliance will focus on developing probiotic products for use at the hatchery level, said Susanne Palsten Buchardt, VP of animal health and nutrition at Novozymes.
The collaboration will include R&D, production, marketing and sales of a portfolio of probiotic products, said the partners.
Strong gut microflora can promote intestinal health and reduce the need for antibiotic growth promoters, they added.
“We have a number of different partnerships, and our overall strategy is partnering for impact,” Palsten Buchardt told FeedNavigator. “Boehringer Ingelheim was chosen because they are one of the leading animal health companies with strong leadership and expertise in the hatchery segment today – it was a natural choice looking at that specific part of the value chain.”
The Danish firm hopes to leverage Boehringer Ingelheim’s close relationships with large-scale producers, and gain valuable access to new distribution channels and customers looking for alternatives for antibiotic growth promoters.
The animal health company has a large share of the hatcheries worldwide, she said. “They have an existing customer base and market assess."
The alliance should allow Novozymes to solidify its position in the US market while providing more options for poultry producers there, she added.
In addition to the development work both companies will be doing, the agreement includes Novozymes’ FloraMax probiotic product, which is currently available in the US market, said Palsten Buchardt.
Boehringer Ingelheim is set to take over the sales and marketing of the product in the US and expand its reach on globally later.
The strategic collaboration has been guided by the regulatory efforts in several countries aimed at reducing the amount of antibiotics used in animal production, but was not intended as a response to particular legislation.
“This is a consequence of where the industry is trending,” she said. “Consumer demand and the regulatory [changes] support the need for our solutions to those changes.”
Investments in the probiotic space
Novozymes has been investing in the probiotic space over the past two years.
September 2016 saw the Danish group buy German microbial research company, Organobalance, for an undisclosed sum.
Christian Munch, director, animal health and nutrition at Novozymes, told us back then:
“Organobalance has a relatively large microbial strain collection, access to such a diverse range of microorganisms will be fundamental to our core product development.
"One of the areas where we want to apply this screening technology is in our work with probiotics - the scientists at Organobalance have competencies in live microbial applications; also the R&D culture at the German firm is thoroughly science based making it, overall, a good fit for us.
He said the probiotic market is growing and that industry is looking more seriously at such microbial products in terms of “what they can and can’t do” in the context of the increasing shift away from antibiotics in animal husbandry globally.
In October 2015, Novozymes acquired US producer, Pacific Vet Group (PVG), citing its expertise in lactic acid bacteria based probiotic applications for poultry, as the rationale for the buy.
And, in May that year, it set up an R&D and marketing alliance with the Chinese owned Adisseo. That partnership launched Alterion, a probiotic for the poultry segment, on the US market in January 2016.