At the 2011 World Animal Health Congress, held this week in Kansas City, Mo., a venture capitalist firm showed the audience the types of animal health ventures that are currently the most attractive for investors.

Dr. Ron Meeusen, Cultivian Ventures, said the most prominent areas are pet drugs, pet vaccines and pet diagnostics. That’s not surprising when the pet industry has grown over the years and the attitude toward pets has changed. One participant on a panel discussion said dogs have moved from the kennel to the bed, but “cows aren’t going anywhere near there.”

Though livestock products are still of interest, one of the problems with bringing drugs to market for livestock are the lengthy intervals needed for food animal products due to safety testing of meat and milk products.

And while exceptions exist, Meeusen shares this list of animal health products and their interest to investors.

Areas of highest interest for animal health investment

  • Drugs-livestock             Hard to execute new drugs in 3-5 years
  • Drugs-pets                   Timing is better, less price pressure
  • Vaccines-livestock         Lower margins, strong competition
  • Vaccines-pets               Better margins, strong competition
  • Diagnostics-livestock     Modest markets, often unproven
  • Diagnostics-pets           Growing demand, markets still unproven
  • GMO technologies or gene therapy   Undefined regulatory path, timing impossible to predict
  • Nutraceuticals               Markets confused, regulatory uncertainty
  • Medical devices            Modest markets