Market News & Headlines >> Zoetis PEDv Vaccine Seen by Year End

Zoetis Inc., the world's largest animal-health company, plans to seek U.S. approval to sell its vaccine for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) before the end of 2014, the firm’s CEO said on Tuesday.

Zoetis, spun off from drug maker Pfizer Inc. last year, expects to ask USDA for a "conditional license" to sell a vaccine against PEDv, Chief Executive Officer Juan Ramon Alaix told analysts during a quarterly earnings call on Tuesday.

The license would allow the company to sell the vaccine directly to hog farmers while it conducts further tests. "There will be some limitations in terms of promotional activities, but not limitations in terms of selling the product to the market," he said.

If approved, the new drug would rival the only vaccine that has so far been made available. On June 16, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service granted a conditional license to privately held Harrisvaccines to sell farmers the first vaccine against PEDv.

The product is an “inactivated or “killed” vaccine, Alaix said. An inactivated vaccine consists of virus particles in culture and then killed using a method such as heat or formaldehyde. Zoetis continues to work with Iowa State University on an additional vaccine approach and is making “good” progress, Alaix said.

PEDv outbreaks are expected to surge again this fall and winter because the virus thrives in cold weather. The virus has killed an estimated 7-8 million piglets since it was first identified in the United States in the spring of 2013, helping to push U.S. pork prices to record highs.