Australian firm to take pain relief product international, only three years after achieving a full registration. Tri-Solfen is used to treat pain in around seven million Australian lambs each year. Now, the product’s developer Animal Ethics aims to replicate its speedy uptake in the US and Europe. Animal Pharm editor Joseph Harvey spoke to the firm’s managing director at the VetHealth Global conference in Canada.
Earlier this month, Tri-Solfen became patented in the US – the next step in bringing pain relief to food-producing animals outside of Australia.
The product is a spray-on gel designed to alleviate pain related to dehorning, castration, tail docking and other procedures in a range of animals. It gives 24-hour topical analgesia to any open wound and is used by over 60% of the Australian merino sheep industry. Since its approval in 2012, it has been used on around 40 million lambs in Australia.
Not only does Tri-Solfen contain two topical local anesthetic agents (lignocaine and bupivicaine) to numb pain, it also includes a vasoconstrictor (adrenalin) to minimize bleeding and an antispetic (cetramide) to prevent wound infection – a high risk when performing procedures outdoors.
“The gel works on the animal’s nerve endings and slows the cascading effects of pain,” managing director Alan Giffard explained.
Tri-Solfen is currently authorized in Australia for use in sheep, however the product has pending domestic authorization in beef cattle, pigs, goats, alpacas and companion animals. The product is wholesaled through Henry Schein in Australia.
The US patent stands alongside protection in the Canada, EU and New Zealand markets. Animal Ethics is aiming to complete US approval in tandem with European authorization, while the firm aims to have the product on sale in New Zealand soon.
“The patents we have allow for additional active ingredients. In the future, there will be the opportunity to develop this for humans,” Mr Giffard suggested.
Tri-Solfen is the brainchild of Dr Meredith Sheil, one of the firm’s founders who developed the product using her experience as a pediatrician, cardiologist and a farmer.
Mr Giffard told Animal Pharm the product is designed to tie-in with a ‘mind-shift’ in public, retail and governmental awareness of animal welfare, due to the increasing humanization of animals.
Recently, US retail giant Walmart committed to uphold the humane treatment of farm animals as part of its meat supply. The third pillar of Walmart’s welfare strategy saw it aspire to ‘freedom from pain, injury or disease’ in its supply chain.
He said: “About 40 years ago, we didn’t realize babies felt pain in the same way adults do. We now know that is not the case. Likewise, animals feel pain in the same way. It is illegal to castrate dogs without pain relief – people are asking ‘why don’t we treat food animals for pain?’ This is the first and only practical and effective topical pain relief for animals. Nothing was used before.”
The success of the product in Australia stems from increasing local pressure from welfare groups and consumers to prevent pain during procedures like castration. Mr Giffard said this, coupled with farmers’ desire to uphold their animals’ welfare, led to an increasing uptake of Tri-Solfen.
The Australian Animal Welfare Strategy is a government initiative that guides the development of new, nationally consistent policies to enhance animal welfare arrangements in all of the country’s states and territories.
There are currently new animal welfare codes being written for sheep and cattle to replace legislation enacted in 2006. This will ensure desirable livestock welfare is compulsory.
Animal Ethics is currently looking for a licensing partner amongst the international animal health community to help develop the product’s regulatory requirements and aid commercialization in international markets. The company has been funded to date by its founders, as well as the Australian Research Council.
Mr Giffard said the company is currently in talks with several interested parties regarding partnerships. READ MORE