April 12, 2010
by Andrew Joseph, Features Editor
A horse is a horse, of course, which is why taking care of this majestic animal requires vastly different veterinary treatments and meds than those for man’s other farm-raised best friends—namely sheep, goats, pigs and poultry—not to mention our much-beloved domestic dogs and cats.
So when you’re in the business of supplying a vast range of highly specialized injectable liquids and formulations for treating these animals from a staggering array of possible ailments and sicknesses—impeccable quality control and full product traceability must be a given.
And it has been for many years at the Bimeda-MTC Animal Health Inc. veterinary pharmaceuticals plant in Cambridge, Ont., where 107 dedicated employees develop, manufacture and market a broad variety of pharmaceuticals and animal health-care products tailored for optimal animal well-being.
Part of the Irish-based Bimeda Group of companies since it was acquired from K-Vet in 1998, the Cambridge operation is an important strategic part of a growing global veterinary products powerhouse—a division of privately-owned, multinational vet products conglomerate Cross Vetpharm Group—with customers in over 75 countries and worldwide revenues of US$115 million in 2007.
To help keep that market-share momentum going the right way, the 58,000-square-foot plant must always operate under the strictest rules and regulations set out by the regulatory heavyweights Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as having all the European Union approvals in place, relates Mario Oliveira, supervisor in charge of filling and packaging operations at the Cambridge facility.
“It’s not an easy field to become involved with, thanks to the incredible increase in government regulations, not to mention the startup costs of building a sterile facility,” says Oliveira, “but the level of regulatory standards upheld at this one Canadian location allows Bimeda to ship products all around the world from here.”
In fact, Oliveira relates, the Cambridge operation has played a key role in laying the foundation for Bimeda’s further successful expansion into the U.S. markets—now operating sister plants in Le Sueur, Minn., and Irwindale, Ca., along with Bimeda’s North American headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.— and a subsequent push into Mexico, where the company has recently opened up a sales and distribution center in Querétaro.
With the U.S. market today accounting for half of the Cambridge plant’s sales—Canada and EU markets generating most of the other half—the Cambridge unit has been a beneficiary of three major capital upgrades under the new ownership, Oliveira points out, crediting Bimeda for “having the financial wherewithal and the industry knowledge to construct two sterile suites here—with a third one currently being set up—enabling us to find a lucrative niche market.