First, innovative and Serbian-made probiotic to enter the market

Posted in: News- Jul 02, 2018

FOR A HEALTHIER WORLD – HIRA VET AND HIRA PET

Which product can we use to protect animals from bowel infections? And how can we help the animals if the infections do occur? We can use antibiotics, probiotics or reach for a traditional medicine, such as dough, apple cider vinegar or baker’s yeast.

Troubleshooting intestinal infections in domestic animals and reducing the use of antibiotics was the reason for the gathering of the team that developed the first innovative and Serbian-made probiotic.

The team has formed a Consortium that sets a great example for a successful cooperation between the private sector and academia. The company GreenLab, which leads the Consortium, has a decade of experience in placing veterinary products on the markets. Over the years, GreenLab established a close cooperation with farms and veterinary clinics, and operates across whole Serbia. After years of working in vet clinics, the veterinary physician Igor Mrvaljević from the company Invetlab had a good overview of the problems in the field and the set of requirements that this new probiotic needed to solve. Nataša Golić PhD, with her team from the Institute for Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, has researched probiotic potentials of natural isolates of lactic acid bacteria. All together, they have turned years of experience into a safe, efficient, completely natural Serbian-made product, tested in a farm environment, that cares about health of domestic animals. The products, Hira Vet and Hira Pet probiotics, were developed and their  prototype production is funded through the Innovation Funds’ Collaborative Grant Scheme Program.

The two probiotics were first manufactured for commercial use in Invetlab’s production facility located in Grgurevci, near Sremska Mitrovica, in March of this year.

Europe has introduced strict regulations banning the use of antibiotics in animal farming, a move that was undisputedly needed to also protect human health. The new combination of ingredients used in Hira Vet and Hira Pet products provides an alternative to using antibiotic and prevention and treatment of difficult-to-treat intestinal infections and inflammations in animals. Hira Vet is a new, unique probiotic combination of lactic acid bacteria, which are deemed to be generally safe bacteria and are present in a normal gastrointestinal flora. Hira Pet, the probiotic combination specifically prepared for pets, is single-handedly responsible for the fact that Donna, Neron, Milica, Kira and many other dogs are today happy, lively and active pets. They are of different age and different breeds, but the thing they have in common is Hira Pet probiotic.

The company GreenLab ensures that the probiotics reach animals and pets properly, while Phytonet is responsible for entrance into foreign markets and establishing connection with European probiotic manufacturers. The market is slowly growing, the buyers are mostly large beef and pig farm owners, and negotiations with poultry farms are underway. The initial lack of interest from the buyers, caused by the bad past experiences they had with different probiotics, is  now overcomed. The users have positive reactions to the products, given that the benefits are visible immediately after use of the first dose of the probiotic. The next step is to get the products into pet shops and penetrate the Asian market.

Development of these products was made possible through a project for which the Innovation Fund allocated 209000 euros, while the consortium contributed 90000 euros. The financial support received from the Innovation Fund was essential, because without it, the production facility for manufacturing the probiotics would not have been set up. Research and development, as well as product commercialisation in biotechnology, are very expensive and time-consuming, and without the financial support from the Innovation Fund, market placement would have taken much longer, which would shorten the period before the patent lapses and left less time for patent utilisation.

The probiotic was registered with the Veterinary Administration, and its protection was initiated also through the international patent application submitted to the Intellectual Property Office. The production is standardised in compliance with HACCP principles.

The consortium commits to continue with the development of the probiotic, which will be easily available to all the interested farmers and pet owners. The advertisement says: “A probiotic for a healthy goat, beautiful calves, world-class pigs, that cures and prevents, let the world hear, Hira Vet is here”.

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The goal of Collaborative Grant Scheme Program is to inspire private businesses and public scientific and research organisations to set up joint scientific research and development projects, in order to create new intellectual property with a market value and market application. The programme was designed within the second component of the Serbia Research, Innovation and Technology Transfer Project, which is financed from the EU IPA 2013 funds and with support of the World Bank. The programme implementation is financed directly from EU IPA 2013 funds, in the total amount of 2.4 million euros, and the Republic of Serbia budget via the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, in the amount of 1 million euros.

“Development of technological processes for production of innovative probiotic products for prevention and treatment of intestinal infections in animals” is the title of the project implemented by the consortium led by GreenLab, whose members include also the Institute for Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, Invetlab and Phytonet. The project team is headed by the coordinator Nataša Golić PhD, from the Institute for Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering.