BioResource International (BRI) who have partnered with us for Feed Additives Asia 2018, taking place in Bangkok in May, spoke with Feedinfo News Service back in October 2017 to discuss their future in feed enzymes.
North Carolina-based agricultural biotechnology firm BioResource International (BRI) has been spending the past couple years strengthening its core feed enzymes business. The next four to five years will be focused on expanding from this base.
BRI has also scaled its manufacturing facility in Durham by 50% since 2014 while maintaining both GMP and FAMI-QS quality certifications throughout the whole process. Now the company is expecting to benefit from an efficient and cost-effective product development process, bringing innovations from laboratory to market significantly faster and at lower cost than the industry standard.
“I am very excited about BRI’s future in the feed enzyme space”, Dr. Giles Shih, BRI’s President and CEO told Feedinfo News Service on the sidelines of Feed Additives 2017 in Frankfurt – an event that the company helped sponsor.
“The protease market continues to grow well with focus from our partner Novus International and Xylamax® is getting good traction in various markets with our current group of partners in Southeast Asia and South America”, he added.
Proteases, for instance, are still in the early stages of adoption, and according to Dr. Shih, have the greatest opportunity for further optimization and upside potential.
“While we have seen good adoption of protease in various global markets through BRI’s exclusive protease distributor Novus International, the North American market still remains largely untapped”, he commented. “We are hopeful that market and economic drivers in this region will gradually create more opportunities for protease in the long term”.
BRI is also seeing xylanases becoming more widely accepted in a variety of diets and demand continues to grow. It is in this market segment that BRI has also chosen to focus on in terms of communication, especially since the launch of Xylamax®, the company’s xylanase feed additive, in March 2014.
Dr. Shih explained: “We are proud of Xylamax®, our breakthrough, patented xylanase feed additive. We developed Xylamax® at BRI through a rigorous screening, development and manufacturing scale up process and launched it in certain strategic markets in 2014. Since then we have conducted many trials in various regions with various feeds and species (including poultry and swine), and it has performed very well under a variety of commercial conditions. We recognize the long-term commitment necessary to support the research and development of Xylamax® and we spend a good deal of time publishing and presenting our research results on this novel xylanase product”.
With the launch of Xylamax®, BRI took a more regional approach to distribute and sell its feed enzyme products.
“We have learned a lot from the process and are excited about the future with the distributors we currently work with, including Optima Feeds, ilender Corp, BioGreen International, Pharmatech FC and Develing International”, Dr. Shih said. “For example, ilender is having good success with our specially formulated xylanase for their customers in South America and we see a lot of upside growth opportunities there, too”.
BRI has also witnessed significant demand for its feed enzymes in the South Asian and Southeast Asian markets. In India, for instance, the company has conducted several poultry field trials with various institutions. Positive results in broilers and layers there have resulted in increasing market adoption of Xylamax®. Such results were then replicated in Thailand and Vietnam, markets where BRI is soon looking forward to sales.
But China continues to present a challenging market for imported enzymes due to regulatory, economic and regional headwinds, as well as the competitiveness and quality of domestic Chinese enzyme companies. BRI witnessed this first hand when in 2014, the company decided to put on hold a 2011 plan to build a manufacturing facility in Tianmen, in Hubei Province. However, BRI’s strategy for China has now changed as the company is able to maintain more than sufficient production capacity with its existing manufacturing partners outside China.
Dr. Shih describes himself as an experienced life science entrepreneur with a “roll-up-your-sleeves, can-do” attitude. And despite its smaller size in comparison with other feed enzyme suppliers, BRI prides itself being an independent company with a diverse team of Ph.D-level scientists on staff, who utilize scientific expertise to create innovative products. It is in that entrepreneurial spirit of creation and teamwork that BRI pursues its focus on developing the next generation of sustainable enzyme products.
When asked about industry consolidation and if BRI had been approached by other companies for takeover talks in the past, Dr. Shih responded: “Certainly, many of our competitors have been acquired over the last few years and we have received a fair share of inbound interest from various groups. Right now, we continue to enjoy strong revenue growth as an independent company as we build out our current portfolio of high performance enzymes”.
“Ultimately, BRI might benefit from a strategic opportunity to gain broader market exposure, but currently we are focused on developing the next generation of enzyme products to help poultry, swine and aqua producers better optimize animal nutrition more effectively and sustainably”, he disclosed. “We are working on several new enzyme products in the BRI pipeline and our plan is to launch the next new enzyme feed additive in mid-2018”.
Dr. Shih also reflected on the long-term potential of feed enzymes, as discussed at Feed Additives 2017 in Frankfurt.
“When it comes to conversations about feed additives that could serve as a viable alternative to antibiotics, enzymes are frequently mentioned due to their consistent performance in the field. However, not all types of enzymes are created equal and there is a significant learning curve before a feed enzyme is accepted by the industry as a whole. For example, phytases are finally widely accepted by the industry after nearly three decades of research and development”, Dr. Shih commented.
“I was also impressed to learn about the rapid growth of the global aquaculture industry and the potential opportunities for enzymes to create value in this growing sector, especially given the need for more protein in aqua feed. There are significant challenges to be overcome though, including getting enzymes into aqua feed effectively while also maintaining activity in lower temperature environments”.
He pointed out that the discussion around enzymes has broadened from a focus on optimizing digestibility of a particular feedstuff to a more holistic understanding of the gut ecosystem and how enzymes impact the health of the gut through probiotic, prebiotic and immunomodulatory effects.
“As an industry, however, it’s not enough to simply claim these benefits – we also need to provide financial models that show how enzymes will deliver measurable performance to the poultry, swine or aqua producer”, he said.
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BRI are partnering with us for our first event in Asia, in Bangkok, May 2018. More information can be found here.