Dr. William C. Campbell and Dr. Satoshi Omura were awarded a share of the prestigious 2015 Nobel Prize for Medicine for their discovery of avermectin. The active ingredient that revolutionized the animal-health industry and also led to the treatment of some of the most devastating parasitic diseases, including river blindness in humans. It also prevents heartworm disease in dogs.
Campbell and Omura were awarded half of the prize, sharing the honor with Youyou Tu for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria.
Originally developed for livestock, the ground-breaking discovery of avermectin led to the development of Merial products that have had a significant impact on the international food supply today.
Building on Campbell and Omura’s heritage, scientists at Merial created IVOMEC® (ivermectin), the first endectocide for both internal and external parasites in cattle. IVOMEC uses a modified version of avermectin called ivermectin. This advancement revolutionized the parasite control category, providing an opportunity to safely increase production of an important source of high-quality protein for a growing worldwide population. Another tribute to this molecule’s innovation is its amazing effectiveness even today after decades of use.
“In 1984 when IVOMEC was launched in the U.S., it was truly a game changer due to its unique broad spectrum, efficacy and safety. The animal health industry had never seen anything like it. The product is administered at such a low dose rate, researchers had to develop new methods to measure it. This was a brand new concept for pharmaceutical companies,” says Bruce Nosky, DVM, director of Merial Large Animal Veterinary Services.
Merial also was able to utilize ivermectin outside of its livestock division.
Merial scientists created products such as HEARTGARD® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel), the most recommended heartworm disease preventive for dogs2, and ZIMECTERIN® Gold (ivermectin/praziquantel), one of several dewormers for horses. Later, EPRINEX® (eprinomectin), formulated with the avermectin-based molecule eprinomectin, was created with unique properties such as being weatherproof and including a zero milk withdrawal time on the label.
Most recently, Merial scientists created a new product, LONGRANGE® (eprinomectin), that allows control of parasites in cattle for up to 150 days in a single dose3 – and that’s something conventional dewormers just can’t match.4-6 Because of its innovation and contribution to the animal health industry, it was recognized by Animal Pharm as Best Food Animal Product 2014.
“Merial is a leader in parasite -control products for the pet, cattle and equine industries – in large part because of the efforts of these scientists,” said Nosky. “We extend our congratulations and thanks to these extraordinary scientists, and are proud to be part of their legacy.”
Much like Dr. Campbell and Dr. Omura, Merial is dedicated to continually provide new technologies to help move the animal-health industry forward. Today, Merial markets a variety of products with avermectin as the parent to the active ingredient. To learn more about these products offered and about Merial, visit http://www.merial.com.