Veterinary Product Development for the Equine Industry 

Merle Olson

The Animal Health Industry is responsible for the development of safe and effective products for horse owners. This presentation will describe the process in taking an idea through research and development and then finally to a new commercial product. There are essential steps taken to develop a new product and failure at any stage can result in cancellation of the project. Each step of the process will be outlined and what it means to the horse owner and their animals. Post- marketing monitoring and follow up will be described. The reasons behind some products being withdrawn from the market, and some not being suitable to be a commercial product, will be discussed. How to obtain safety and recall information from Health Canada for Pharmaceuticals or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for Vaccines will also be described.

Dr. Merle Olson was born and raised on a farm in the Radville area of Southern Saskatchewan. Dr. Olson attended the University of Regina receiving a BSc in Chemistry and Biology in 1975. He then attended the University of Western Ontario where he received a Master’s degree in Chemistry. He then attended the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) and following graduation in 1981 practised in Pincher Creek, Alberta. In 1984 Merle accepted a position at the University of Calgary (U of C). During this period he had over 200 papers, 45 patents and 30 graduate students in infectious diseases and pharmaceutical development. In 2004 Dr. Olson retired to found a Veterinary Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company, Alberta Veterinary Laboratories (AVL). Dr. Olson currently acts as VP of Research and Business development for AVL and Chief Medical, a human pharmaceutical manufacturer, at their 81,000 sq ft GMP manufacturing plant in Calgary, AB. These companies produce over 80 novel and generic products for veterinarians and humans and employ over 80 pharmaceutical, chemical and engineering scientists. Dr. Olson has produced novel veterinary pharmaceutical products for horses for control of pain, inflammation, parasites and infections. Dr. Olson continues to conduct human and veterinary pharmaceutical product development and is active in the laboratory and conducting clinical trials. 


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