25 October 2018 – Expanding its presence in the feed enzyme space, North Carolina-based agricultural biotechnology firm BioResource International (BRI) is about to launch a new offering from its growing portfolio: EnzaPro(TM), a xylanase enzyme product combining multi-strain direct fed microbial strains (DFMs).
Ahead of the market launch and progressive roll-out of the product scheduled for early next year, Feedinfo News Service spoke with Nasser Odetallah (Vice President of Sales, BRI) and James Tyus (Technical Services Manager, BRI) to find out more about EnzaPro’s specificities and how the new product will fit into BRI’s growth trajectory moving forward.
[Feedinfo News Service] EnzaPro will be ready for launch at the end of 2018 and rolled out in key markets in early 2019. What do you already know?
[Nasser Odetallah] Early indications from the market suggest that there is significant interest in new products in this space and BRI has received numerous requests for product and information about EnzaPro. Clearly, the movement away from AGPs, coupled with efforts to comply with new regulations and to meet customer demand for AGP alternatives, is driving interest in innovative new solutions like ours. Trials conducted clearly show that supplementing feed with EnzaPro in AGP-free diets can bring back live performance and, in some cases, provide an even better response. We believe regions that are prone to necrotic enteritis and coccidiosis will be the most receptive to EnzaPro. Over the last 12 months, we have presented at various poultry and animal science forums results from several poultry challenge trials that have demonstrated EnzaPro significantly reduces the titer of Clostridium perfringens, the main pathogen associated with necrotic enteritis in poultry and swine, as well as significantly reducing the level of coccidia oocysts in the litter.
[Feedinfo News Service] What lessons learned from the global roll-out of Xylamax® will you be applying to the gradual roll-out of EnzaPro?
[Nasser Odetallah] We learned that introducing new products to the market, even when there is a good track record of performance and receptivity, still involves a significant learning curve for all stakeholders, including suppliers, distributors and customers. It is seldom a straight line from positive academic trial results to market acceptance and traction. As a result, we have spent a good deal of time on the ground with our regional partners and customers to educate producers on the value of adding Xylamax® to their diets and supporting local trials to demonstrate efficacy with different feed formulations and various growth conditions.
While EnzaPro does deliver value with high performance xylanase activity, it is the synergistic combination of enzyme and the proprietary blend of DFMs that provides its unique patent-pending composition and functionality. Therefore, the product’s positioning will be different from Xylamax. Rolling-out Xylamax was more focused on benchmarking and competing against other xylanase feed additives, while EnzaPro presents a new concept and category for the industry to evaluate. As such, it will be even more important to educate the end user about the differences and similarities to other stand-alone enzymes or direct-fed microbials on the market.
[Feedinfo News Service] BRI is in discussions with various strategic partners to help launch EnzaPro in key global markets. Would you like to share an update on these discussions?
[Nasser Odetallah] As always, BRI continues to grow its offerings and expand the territories where such products/solutions can be of value to the animal and feed industries. Therefore, BRI is highly selective in choosing strategic partners for all our products. We see EnzaPro as a unique product offering and thus requiring an even more in-depth selection process when it comes to choosing the proper partner(s). Selection will depend on many factors, including regions and the needs of the industry in those different regions. We are in discussions with several potential strategic partners in different parts of the world.
[Feedinfo News Service] EnzaPro is a xylanase enzyme product combining multi-strain probiotics. BRI is better known by the market for its feed enzyme work. However, the product has come out of the R&D labs at BRI. Can you provide a historical overview of BRI’s interest in DFMs?
[James Tyus] We recognized that producers’ interest in multi-faceted approaches to improving performance of animals under various levels of disease challenges or in varying management practices often led them to apply enzymes, DFMs, prebiotics and other solutions in combinations, in an effort to “cover all the bases” in their formulations. We also knew that, while our xylanase could confer a prebiotic effect for commensal bacteria in the foregut, there was opportunity to direct that effect toward the growth of beneficial (probiotic) strains, if they were present. We explored opportunities to include a probiotic in our portfolio, but soon realized that the efficacy of DFMs was quite variable, depending on strain and dose, among other factors. BRI’s scientists therefore began rigorous selective screening of several candidates and evaluations of strain combinations to select for beneficial probiotic characteristics, in vitro. From there, our animal scientists evaluated candidates with the most potential via pellet stability tests and animal studies. Ultimately, we discovered that a multi-strain approach would be most advantageous. So, we explored options for combining multiple strains of DFMs with our enzymes. What surfaced is the knowledge that, when optimized for targeted delivery and maximum impact, our xylanase and DFMs could work synergistically, with each component providing specific benefits via unique mechanisms of actions. EnzaPro harnesses the potential of each component and does so in a way that they are synergistic with one another.
[Feedinfo News Service] Can you summarize the main “nutritional” discoveries using EnzaPro in poultry, swine and aquaculture trials? How consistent are these findings?
[James Tyus] In trial after trial, we consistently observe significant improvements in the rate of weight gain and in feed efficiency, reduction of morbidity and mortality, improved carcass characteristics, improved flock uniformity, and strong overall economics of commercial-scale production for poultry and for swine, at each phase, from wean-to-finish. Aquaculture trials have also demonstrated significant yield improvements in certain fish diets. In a recent trial, EnzaPro not only significantly improved body weight and FCR of growing tilapia fed energy-reduced diets, it did so at a rate exceeding even the full-energy positive control group. We are pursuing a number of additional studies in tilapia and other species, with focus on specific growth rate, feed efficiency, and nutrient digestibility.
BRI has recently presented several positive poultry and swine trial results with EnzaPro at annual meetings of the Poultry Science Association and American Society of Animal Science, and at the International Poultry Scientific Forum. In conjunction with researchers at AHPharma Inc., BRI recently published an article, “Combination of Xylanase and Bacillus Direct-fed Microbials, as an Alternative to Antibiotic Growth Promoters, Improves Live Performance and Gut Health in Subclinical Challenged Broilers” in the International Journal of Poultry Science. The results of these studies have demonstrated just how effective EnzaPro can be at improving live performance and reducing pathogen load in the animal and in the environment.
[Feedinfo News Service] BRI argues that EnzaPro presents “comparable or even superior features” to AGPs under standard production conditions and offers additional “insurance” during periods of stress in production. Would you like to expand on these claims made?
[James Tyus] Under typical rearing conditions (e.g. little-to-no incidence of disease, industry standard management practices, standard or high-quality feed ingredients etc.), EnzaPro consistently improves digestibility and utilization of key nutrients, particularly energy. However, it is under less-favorable (or “stressful”) conditions that EnzaPro really shines. For example, BRI has conducted a number of bird trials in which necrotic enteritis was induced via application of multiple strains of Eimeria and Clostridia. In each trial, EnzaPro has been effective at minimizing the severity of gross lesions in the intestines and in reducing broiler mortality, while improving weight gain, reducing FCR and bringing down the number of days to market weight. When EnzaPro is used with common coccidiostats, the combination outperforms either additive on its own. In both challenged and unchallenged conditions, EnzaPro has even been more effective than commonly used antibiotic growth promotors at reducing severity of disease and in bolstering strong growth performance. We are excited about these results, as EnzaPro provides protection across a wide range of potential economic and environmental risk factors.
[Feedinfo News Service] Enzyme/probiotic solutions are currently benefitting from good demand in the market. What are EnzaPro’s main differentiation points?
[James Tyus] EnzaPro is a patent-pending technology that leverages the synergistic effects of combining high performance xylanase with a proprietary blend of DFM. Each DFM strain confers specific benefits via a unique mechanism of action, and they each benefit from the action of xylanase. The technology is optimized for commercial production under all conditions, but especially in less than optimum production and management conditions. With EnzaPro, producers get consistently strong production performance, better animal health management, and fewer food safety issues.
[Feedinfo News Service] In October 2017, Dr. Giles Shih said BRI continues to enjoy strong revenue growth as an independent company as it builds out its portfolio of high performance enzymes. With Versazyme®, Valkerase®, Xylamax® (launched in 2014) and EnzaPro™ (2018 launch), BRI is constituting itself a sizeable portfolio, while continuing to work with exclusive manufacturing partners. Moving forward is BRI planning to start any in-house manufacturing, or are R&D/manufacturing/sales & marketing alliances the optimal solution when it comes to feed enzyme development?
[Nasser Odetallah] BRI continues to build on its R&D and manufacturing platforms, as well as strengthening its sales and marketing presence. In the past year, for example, we have added new team members in R&D, Sales, and QA/QC. We recently added a new production line to our GMP and FAMI-QS certified manufacturing facility in North Carolina, and we strengthened our alliance with Vetnostrum Animal Health, one of our key manufacturing partners in Asia. While current alliances provide sufficient capacity in a cost-effective and capital-efficient manner, we are always evaluating strategic opportunities to improve the growth and profitability of our business.
[Feedinfo News Service] Dr. Shih also said that BRI might benefit from a strategic opportunity to gain broader market exposure, but currently was focused on developing the next generation of enzyme products. Is it safe to say that the launch of EnzaPro is in some ways the culmination point of this focus and that BRI is perhaps more open to a strategic opportunity from an interested group?
[Nasser Odetallah] In a word, yes. However, we are doing well as a stand-alone, innovation-driven and market-focused company and continue to build out our pipeline of high performance feed additives, including next generation enzyme products, as well as novel technology platforms that could be transformative for the industry.