Research and development in animal health is all well and good, but a strong team of professional services veterinarians to help implement and communicate to the producers is needed to ensure lab creations are effective. While visiting Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc.’s (BIVI) new R&D facility in Ames, Iowa, I sat down with Dr. John Waddell, senior associate director, professional services veterinarian.
“Many think R&D starts in a laboratory, but it really starts in the field. It starts with practitioners and producers who have a problem with no solution. Sometimes the disease hasn’t had a true pathogen identified with it yet. When I am in the field, I look for those. If I run across odd ball diseases, I help facilitate getting those samples to R&D so they can start finding out what is going on behind the clinical sign we see on the farm that doesn’t make sense.”
If R&D finds a new agent we take a clean pig and attempt to recreate the clinical signs found in the field. If they are successful, they determine if it is worth creating a vaccine for the pathogen. Dr. Waddell said there are numerous steps in getting that vaccine through FDA testing and then to market.
A simple theme for the professional services vet team was ‘creating solutions.’ Dr. Waddell said it always goes back to that. “We help producers design clinical studies. Find out what their current status is and then what their constraints are. Not all can take advantage of all the tools that come down the pike. When we understand their goals, we can help them formulate a plan to manage that disease.” But they don’t stop there. The team also plays an active role in monitoring progress to see if treatment is working and the producer is achieving their goals. If they aren’t, Dr. Waddell said they cycle back to step one.
Listen to my complete interview with Dr. Waddell to learn more about how the field service vets use a team approach throughout the entire process with the producers: Interview with Dr. John Waddell, BIVI
View and download photos from the tour here: 2016 BIVI HMC Media Tour Photo Album.