Avivagen Inc. (VIV:TSX.V; VIVXF:OTCQB) has a value proposition for livestock producers: "Feed OxC-beta to your livestock (cows/pigs/chickens) to significantly increase livestock health and productivity."
VIV is at an inflection point, as an accumulation of data supports the company's scientific claims, with commercial orders across the globe following.
"Our product was discovered in the National Research Council laboratories in Ottawa and Charlottetown," explained Kym Anthony, CEO of Avivagen. "Beta carotene was already a well-known source of vitamin A."
"We believe the Company is at an inflection point with significant sales increases just around the corner and presents a favorable risk/reward proposition." - Joe Gomes, Noble Capital Markets
Scientists suspected that β-carotene had health benefits beyond being a source of vitamin A, but for a long time the chemical structure of its auxiliary powers remained shrouded in mystery.
By probing β-carotene's natural tendency to oxidize in air, Avivagen noted that it was able to unlock β-carotene's additional benefits.
Avivagen's commercially produced fully oxidized β-carotene product, OxBC, absent β-carotene and vitamin A, closely reflects the product formed naturally in plant sources, according to the company.
The OxC-beta™ Livestock premix formulation of the OxBC product reliably delivers the suite of β-carotene oxidation compounds that provide flavor, aroma and immune function support that once was available in natural feed stocks, but now largely are lacking in most modern livestock feeds, the company notes.
"OxC-beta primes the immune system," stated Anthony. "It triggers a more specific and rapid response to the pathogen by your body. It is not species-specific. It works on cows, pigs, chickens, dogs and humans."
The number one disease in cows is bovine mastitis—an inflammatory reaction of the udder tissue due to physical trauma or micro-organisms infections.
"Healthier cows" isn't just a feel-good story, it's an economic one.
Mastitis is one of the costliest diseases for treatment in the dairy industry, as infected animals must be treated by antibiotics and removed from milk production until fully healthy to ensure that their milk does not contain antibiotics.
"If you give cows antibiotics, you cannot sell the milk," confirmed Anthony. "If your cow gets sick you have to pull the cow out of production."
The financial benefits of OxC-beta have several dimensions.
Bulk milk buyers in Mexico measure the bacteria count in the milk. If the count is low, they'll pay a higher price for the milk.
Avivagen's claims are backed by hard science.
On February 18, 2021, a research paper "Evaluation of fully oxidized β-carotene as a feed ingredient to reduce bacterial infection and somatic cell counts in cows with subclinical mastitis" was accepted for publication in the New Zealand Veterinary Journal.
OxC-beta 42-day treatment highlights:
- 100% increase in the number of udder-quarters testing negative for the presence of bacteria in milk at the end of the 42-day study.
- Significantly reduced the number of udder-quarters that progressed from subclinical to full clinical mastitis.
The New Zealand Veterinary Journal (NZVJ) ranks in the top 25% of veterinary science journals in the world.
"In New Zealand, the scientists measured six types of bacteria," confirmed Anthony. "The study was a staggering success, with bacteria rates dropping on average 23%."
Subsequent studies further strengthened Avivagen's scientific claims.
On March 4, 2021, Avivagen announced that a manuscript reporting the benefits of OxC-beta for broiler poultry has been approved for publication by Poultry Science, a leading peer-reviewed journal.
The paper, entitled "Effect of Oxidized β-Carotene (OxBC) on the Growth and Feed Efficiency of Broilers," reports on the positive results of two dietary supplementation trials in which OxC-beta was used with broiler poultry.
In both trials, birds in the OxC-beta groups achieved significantly improved growth performance measures, including average daily weight gain and feed utilization efficiency, when compared to birds in control groups.
The first of the two comprehensive studies was conducted in Canada, with birds being reared under typical commercial conditions for broiler production in Ontario.
The second study was conducted in Scotland under typical commercial conditions for broiler production in the United Kingdom.
"This publication provides an additional level of scientific validation supporting the commercially meaningful benefits of using OxC-beta for broiler poultry," stated Anthony, "providing additional value to Avivagen's current and future customers committed to eliminating or reducing antibiotic use in their operations."
Avivagen leveraged the results of the New Zealand, Canada and UK trials into purchase orders for OxC-beta.
On April 23, 2021, Avivagen received a purchase order for a single shipment of 4.4 metric tonnes of OxC-beta livestock from UNAHCO, a Philippine-based early adopter of OxC-beta for use in swine and poultry.
On April 26, 2021, Avivagen received a purchase order from a large, integrated livestock producer in Thailand.
This first purchase order from the Thai livestock producer followed several trials with sows and piglets that confirmed Avivagen's OxC-beta Livestock consistently outperformed any and all competitive alternatives.
"The real-world evidence of the benefits of our product are leading to more customer wins and growing adoption of our OxC-beta™ Livestock product," stated Avivagen.
With annual livestock feed production in 2020 of 21 million tonnes, Thailand's largest livestock export market is the European Union, where AGPs (Antibiotics as Growth Promoters) have been banned since 2010.
On May 6, 2021, Avivagen announced it has finalized an introductory order of OxC-beta™ Livestock for use in western Mexico.
The initial 200-kilogram order is similar in size to past introductory customer orders, many of whom later become repeat customers at larger quantities.
"We are making great strides in the Mexican feed production market, and today's new customer order reflects the continued growth in demand for OxC-beta Livestock in new regions throughout the country," stated Anthony.
"We've had six papers published over the last six months," Anthony said. "We have three divisions—one for livestock, one for companion animals and one for humans. We are expanding our geographic footprint in all three verticals, as we form new partnerships."
Avivagen is currently selling OxC-beta for humans under the Dr. Tobias brand, a large seller of nutraceuticals on Amazon.
Anthony anticipates conducting human trials over the next 12 months, to demonstrate the efficacy for OxC-beta in humans.
Creating a robust sales channel for a human product will require partnerships with existing branded product lines or "white-labelling."
White-labeling is less flashy than branding but potentially more profitable—due to single bulk orders that come without the expense and operational drag of marketing and distribution.
White label products are sold by retailers with their own branding and logo but the products themselves are manufactured by a third party (in this case Avivagen).
In a May 4, 2021, research note, Noble Capital Markets Senior Research Analyst Joe Gomes reported that it "expects additional orders as successful commercial trials conclude in jurisdictions where OxC-beta Livestock is approved."
"We believe the Company is at an inflection point with significant sales increases just around the corner and presents a favorable risk/reward proposition," the analyst wrote.
Noble maintains an Outperform rating for Avivagen with a 12-month price target of US$1.00/share.
VIV shares are currently trading around US$0.38 on the U.S. OTC Markets exchange and CA$0.44 on the TSX Venture Exchange.
Avivagen currently has approximately 57 million shares outstanding and about 77 million fully diluted. Management owns just over 3% and the Bloom Burton Healthcare Fund is a major investor.
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1) Lukas Kane compiled this article for Streetwise Reports LLC and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an independent contractor. He or members of his household own securities of the following companies mentioned in the article: None. He or members of his household are paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None. His company has a financial relationship with the following companies referred to in this article: None.
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Disclosures for Noble Capital Markets, Avivagen Inc., May 4, 2021
Company Specific Disclosures
The following disclosures relate to relationships between Noble and the company (the "Company") covered by the Noble Research Division and referred to in this research report.
The Company in this report is a participant in the Company Sponsored Research Program ("CSRP"); Noble receives compensation from the Company for such participation. No part of the CSRP compensation was, is, or will be directly or indirectly related to any specific recommendations or views expressed by the analyst in this research report.
The Company has attended Noble investor conference(s) in the last 12 months.
Noble intends to seek compensation for investment banking services and non-investment banking services (securities and non-securities related) within the next 3 months.
Noble is not a market maker in the Company.
ANALYST CREDENTIALS, PROFESSIONAL DESIGNATIONS, AND EXPERIENCE
Senior Generalist Equity Analyst. Chartered Financial Analyst©. Over 25 years experience as a Generalist Analyst focused in the small to mid-cap space. MBA in Finance from Pace University and a BS in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University. FINRA licenses 6, 7, 24, 63, 86, 87.