When a small family business, Trentham Veterinary Laboratories (TVL) was established in 1946, farmers had no option but to give their sheep and cattle a number of separate vaccines to protect them against different diseases. It was a time-consuming and expensive process.

Today, following a number of mergers, MSD Animal Health’s high-tech manufacturing facility in Upper Hutt is part of a global, research-driven company which develops, manufactures and markets a wide range of bacterial vaccines for vets all over the world.

“It’s a highly specialised field,” General Manager Ian Pawson explains.

“We manufacture 17 different types of vaccines to protect animals against 12 different diseases. Over a period of six months, 1.5ml of bacteria is grown and processed to become 6,000 litres of vaccine. Because of the fermentation process, our plant looks a lot like a brewery really.”

The company’s history of superior technical expertise and experience, its advanced training and testing, development and manufacturing facilities and infrastructure for the legal release of vaccines, have helped the high-tech business maintain its strong position in the market. 80% of its vaccines are exported to 60 countries including Australia and the European Union, North and South America and Africa.

MSD Animal Health’s most unique vaccine protects sheep, cattle, and other ruminants against the clostridial group of diseases which includes tetanus.“No longer do vets need to administer 10 separate vaccines to cover 10 different types of clostridial bacteria,” Ian explains.

“Our Covexin 10 vaccine covers the lot in one hit, which saves vets time and farmers money.”

If animals are not vaccinated against clostridial bacteria and come into contact with it, they can potentially die randomly and without warning.

“Using science and technology we are helping farmers grow healthier animals,” Ian says.

“As is the case for humans, we are essentially triggering an animal’s immune system to protect it from very dangerous diseases without making it unwell.”

Being located in New Zealand with its relatively ‘disease free’ status, provides MSD Animal Health with some unique competitive advantages.

“New Zealand has limited exotic diseases and the base materials we rely on to develop our vaccines are sourced from our BSE-free beef market. Our major ingredient is on our doorstep,” Ian says.

New Zealand’s strict manufacturing regulations for the production of animal vaccines combined with the design of MSD Animal Health’s manufacturing plant means that the company meets the regulatory requirements of all global markets.

“Our facility is registered in the USA and EU which gives us access to customers everywhere.”

Ian explains that while Upper Hutt is a long way from its international customers, it’s the relaxed environment, short commute to work against the traffic and being able to go for a run through beautiful parks and alongside the river at lunch times that makes Upper Hutt an attractive place to work.

“I can jump on my mountain bike and be in the hills in no time after work. We are very lucky”.

Visit the MSD Animal Health website: www.msd-animal-health.co.nz

Click on an image below to read local success stories from businesses and how they found success in Upper Hutt.

Last updated on 21 May 2018