Digital Animal Health Summit: What Binds Us Together
In pivotal times, connections like the Digital Animal Health Summit, are more important than ever, said KCAHC President Kimberly Young.
Building connections is the heart of the KC Animal Health Corridor, said its president, Kimberly Young. “In pivotal times, it is important that we connect with customers, supporting veterinarians and pet parents as they look to care for their furry family members,” she said. “As an industry, we must exhibit resiliency and excellence, which is why we focused the Summit on pivoting, connecting, and advancing.”
The KC Animal Health Corridor held its first Digital Animal Health Summit from August 31 – September 2. The Summit brought leaders together from across the globe to discuss the future of the animal health industry. The overarching takeaway: To meet consumer demand for environmentally friendly protein and pet owners’ need for accessible veterinary care, the industry must embrace technology and hire a more diverse workforce.
A reinvention of what has been known in the past as Global Animal Health Week, the Summit provided a virtual forum for animal health leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, learners, and investors to come together to shape the industry’s future – all from the comfort of their office or home.
Attendees were still able to see each other’s faces and share a virtual toast while enjoying the flexibility of recorded educational sessions (33 on-demand webinars), live programming (5 live sessions including the first all-industry discussion around diversity and inclusion), and 36 hours of 1:1 business partnering over three days. The Corridor also hosted a supplemental program that provided a monetary donation for the Spirit of Service program. The 5th annual Spirit of Service program raised $25,000 for Retrieving Freedom and Symbiotic Behavioral Treatment Center. “These two organizations support the human-animal bond and serve the most vulnerable through a connection with animals,” said Young.
The Summit also featured presentations from 12 emerging companies. Supporting entrepreneurs and advancing ideas to commercialization is a core focus for the Corridor. “There is a symbiotic relationship between big and small companies – they both need each other,” Young said. The 2020 Summit brought together companies from the U.S., Canada, China, and Japan to present novel technologies.
“2020 has forced us all to pivot, but continuing to connect and advance is a must,” Young said. “The Summit allowed the industry to come together to discuss some of the most pressing issues of our time, continue to support entrepreneurs, provide a platform to advance innovation, hear directly from industry leaders on trends shaping the future, and connect directly with thought leaders globally. The Summit hosted attendees from 10 different countries who engaged in 426 hours of 1:1 meetings through the conference platform.”
Although virtual does not replace in-person connections, Young said the Summit brought the industry together, staying true to the heart of the Corridor’s mission. “For the Corridor, being socially distant didn’t have to mean disconnected,” she said.
Providing a seamless, easy-access experience was key to creating a successful virtual event. Young and her team spent a significant amount of time planning engaging content and researching various platforms that could accommodate all Summit components through a single access point. The Corridor was able to provide all conference information, on-demand content, live programming, and 1:1 business partnering through one registration. Based on attendee feedback, this approach was well-received, Young said. “Organizing the Digital Summit was a great learning experience. After reviewing attendee responses, we would make some small tweaks if we host another Digital Summit, even though the overall response was very positive.”
Young said they had overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees. “Virtual does not replace in-person, but the combination of on-demand, live programming, and 1:1 business partnering was the right formula for success according to our attendees. In fact, based on attendee feedback, some components of the conference will remain digital even when we return to in-person events. I believe that 2020 has changed the landscape of how events will be hosted going forward.”
Moving forward, the Corridor will incorporate virtual events into the scope of programming offered throughout the year even when events return to in-person. Although virtual events don’t replace the in-person connection, they do remove barriers like travel, time, and cost, Young said. This increases access to programs, content, and information and allows us to foster connections among more industry professionals.
Presenting emerging companies
Aeronics, Inc., Pennsylvania: high efficiency, low-pressure oxygen storage to revolutionize oxygen delivery to pets at home, in transport, and in animal hospitals.
AimaLojic Animal Health/Immutrix Therapeutics Inc., South Dakota: a novel hemoperfusion platform to remove poisons, overdosed drugs, and other harmful molecules from pets’ blood.
Anubis Bio, LLC, Missouri: orally delivered zoonotic, high-affinity antibodies to provide passive immunity in animals in a formulation designed to protect the antibodies.
Creative Protein Solutions, Alberta, Canada: a portable platform for diagnosing metabolic and infectious diseases in animals, beginning with milk fever and mastitis in dairy cattle.
Dalan Animal Health, Inc., California: an oral vaccine for the prevention of American Foulbrood (AFB) in honey bees, a bacterial disease caused by spores.
Hachi Tama Inc., Kanagawa, Japan: a smart litter box with facial recognition that provides for measuring cat weight and urine output to aid in the early detection of certain diseases.
Okava Pharmaceuticals, California: developing drugs known to be safe and effective for humans into differentiated, clinically meaningful, dose-appropriate products for animals delivered via controlled release technology.
Pacific GeneTech, Hong Kong, China: animal vaccines targeting zoonotic and food safety pathogens, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, with an adjuvant that enables oral dosing.
QSM Diagnostics Inc., Massachusetts: a diagnostic platform that detects and identifies bacteria in minutes with no sample preparation. Quantitative results can be obtained at the point of care.
Roo Veterinary Inc., Texas: marketplace platform that enables real-time matching of relief and freelance veterinarians and veterinary technicians with practices seeking such professionals.
SafePath Laboratories LLC, California: lateral flow diagnostic platform with up to 50 analytes on a single cartridge that provides complete results on an analyte- and patient-specific basis.
Xoran Technologies, Michigan: mobile computerized tomography (CT) imaging device to allow 3D imaging of any body part anywhere in the clinic, as well as 2D imaging and fluoroscopy.
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/metamorworks