Development of alternatives for antibiotics based on natural products

Dopharma B.V. develops, produces and markets generic animal medicines. The medicines produced are mostly used for farm animals and therefore comprise mainly antibiotics and painkillers. In 2015, a 50% decrease in the usage of antibiotics must be achieved as compared to 2009, and in the new plans of the cabinet, this will even be increased to a 70% reduction. Obviously, Dopharma endorses a reasonable use of antibiotics, however, the reduction has a high impact on sales. For this reason, Dopharma decided to develop a new range of products, under the brand name Eviban. This is an acronym of ‘evidence-based nutrition’, and the company strategy demands that the new products have proven efficacy. Moreover, the new products should be based upon natural products, such as feed supplements or herbal products.

The research facilities of Dopharma for the development of generics and execution of bio-equivalence studies are splendid. Dopharma owns its own experimental farm with facilities for poultry, oxen and swine. However, Dopharma is less well-equiped for pre-clinical research. This pre-clinical research is performed at INT by Dr. Yvonne Verbeek-Schilder. We aim to find new products on a natural basis that could serve as preventive or curative drugs for animals. The methods that are use are analytical chemistry (HPLC, TLC), cell-biological (cell culture, ELISA, cytotoxicity) and culture of bacteria (aerobic and anaerobic). Currently, 4 lead compound-mixtures have been developed and we are now developing a test system to determine which of those four supplements has a positive effect on animal health. The INT group members have very diverse expertise which results in exchange of knowledge from many different perspectives.

"The presence of a highly diverse range of analytical techniques as well as the organisation of the labs of INT has an absolute added value to ensure a fast development of new (safe) drugs for animals."

Author: Dr. Yvonne Verbeek-Schilder