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Animal health business sold to Dutch company will remain in Willmar

WILLMAR, Minn. — The animal health business Epitopix of Willmar has been sold to Vaxxinova, a Netherlands-based company specializing in the industry.

Epitopix is a vaccine research and development company based on the MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar, Minn. It is owned by the Willmar Poultry group of companies.

The sale was completed Wednesday, Feb 28, according to a news release from Vaxxinova.

According to Vaxxinova CEO Victor van Solinge, Willmar will become the nucleus for the company's animal health business in the United States. Vaxxinova anticipates recruiting animal health professionals and investing the technical capabilities in Willmar, he added.

The companies have similar cultures as both are part of a family-owned group, and combining their technology should allow them to expand the company's global reach, van Solinge said.

"The acquisition by Vaxxinova provides Epitopix a chance to accelerate our growth in the poultry and livestock vaccine markets," Jim Sandstrom, managing director of Epitopix, said in the release. "Since the founding of Epitopix, we have been under the protective wing of our parent, Willmar Poultry Co. Now we'll have the ability to fly, with the experience of an international team to guide us and new resources under our wings."

Epitopix was formed in 2002 and grew from the laboratory service division of Willmar Poultry. The division developed a vaccine laboratory to search for better ways to develop vaccines that would improve the health of turkeys grown by the company.

Vaxxinova is part of EW Group, a family-owned holding company specializing in animal genetics, nutrition and health. Its headquarters are in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. It also has facilities in Brazil, Germany, Italy, Norway, Japan and Jordan.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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