A company where the confluence of love of family and love of animals benefits both.
By Sherri Collins
It started almost nine years ago, when two brothers decided they wanted to work together instead of in completely separate equine veterinarian practices. Their business idea was to develop a joint nutraceutical for horses. They chose hyaluronic acid as a key ingredient and not for purely scientific reasons. Most products on the market at that time contained glucosamine and/or chondroitin. Both are glycoaminoglycans (GAG) that help in joint repair. In order to stand out from the rest, the Pierce brothers added a third GAG to their mix: hyaluronic acid.
“Horse owners are more knowledgeable [than other animal owners] about the ingredients in nutraceuticals” Stuart Pierce explains, noting they would be more likely to pay attention to a third, joint-beneficial ingredient.
“We began with the idea of an injectable nutraceutical for horses, but soon discovered it had substantial cost limitations,” Piece adds. We then switched to creating an oral formula, coming up with a paste form, mixing all three GAGs, which we then gave out to our veterinary customers.”
At a Glance
Partners/Co-owners: Scott w. Pierce, DVM & Stuart L. Pierce, DVM
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
No. of Employees: 12
Flagship Product: Conquer
No. of Years in Business: Since 1999
Within 10 days of their informal testing, the brothers knew they had a winner on their hands.
“The reports came back glowing with praise,” Pierce says. “Our customers wanted to know what exactly was in this stuff because it worked so well.”
Not content to leave their new product as a mere marketing ploy, Scott and Stuart headed back into the lab for some serious research.
They wanted to improve the isolation of hyaluronic acid, as well as better understand its biochemical interaction within joints. After conducting several studies (efficacy, safety, etc.) they created Conquer, a gel containing only one GAG, hyaluronic acid (HA).
From Conquer, Kinetic Technologies (privately held under the company Vetix Inc.) expanded to include 20 equine-health products. Most are joint-care nutraceuticals, but the line also covers hoof, skin and coat care, as well as a performance-improvement formula. All are backed up with research studies, including one published in the peer-reviewed publication Equine Veterinary Journal.
- Joint Care: Conquer Liquid; Chondrogen EQ; MSM Crystals; Osteochon; Conquer Powder; Conquer Stable Pack; Conquer Equine Gel
- Hoof Care: Contender
- Skin & Coat Care: Dermacloth
- Performance: M.A.S.S.
Companion Animal Health
- Joint Care: Conquer K9 Gel; K9 HA Chewables; Joint Essential; Conquer Hip, Joint & Muscle
- Older Dogs: Conquer K9 Mature Years
- Grooming: Dermacloth; Hyla-Derm Shampoo for Dogs
- Wound Care: Silver Med Wound Spray
- Eye Care: Hy-Optic
- Ear Care: Hy-Otic
- Feline: Hyla-Derm Shampoo for Cats; Feline Joint Formula
“Being vets, each product we produce has solid science behind it,” Pierce says, explaining that Kinetic Technologies products are never random creations, but are created to fill an animal-care need.
“We were the first vets and company to use oral HA for horses,” Stuart Pierce notes. “We started out as pure equine. However, horse owners started using the oral HA on their dogs, reporting to us that it worked equally well. We were amazed and pleased, and headed back into lab for intensive research, creating HA chewables for dogs.”
The business remains vet intensive, but the Pierces pay close attention to the retail side of their business, especially their growing line of companion-animal health nutraceuticals. At least 12 other HA-based products, including two for cats, now accompany the first product, K9 HA Chewables. Two of their more recent successes are the eye- and ear-care products: Hy-Optic and Hy-Otic.
“We’ve expanded our distribution far beyond veterinary offices,” Pierce reports. “Petco, PetSmart and Tractor Supply now carry Kinetic Technology products. They’re also available online.”
One other expansion of note: Oral HA supplements are now available for humans. Pierce related that Kinetic’s horse- and dog-supplement customers were so pleased with the results in their animals; they wanted to know if they could have a similar product for themselves. The Pierce brothers readily complied. Marketed under HA Concepts, Kinetic Technologies also produces three joint-care products for people.
“HA is vital for skin and joint health,” Pierce notes. “Women have been using it for years, as it’s abundant in cosmetic products, such as Maybelline and Max Factor. We just took it a step further.”
The consequences of Kinetics increased product range and reach were supplement sales of $5 million to $6 million for 2008.
Impressive numbers from a company that began with a single nutraceutical back in 1999. And the product development goes on, the company just finished an in-house study on oral HA for German shepards with hip dysplasia; the results are promising.
The brothers both maintain their veterinary practices. Scott is an active partner in Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, the largest such medical establishment in the world. Stuart owns a multi-doctor practice Lexington. Doing so comes natural; it’s in their blood.
“We are a family of vets; there’s five of us, four of which graduated from University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine,” Stuart Pierce says, explaining how they got to where they are today.
The Pierce families’ love of animals and each other definitely pays off—in multiple ways—for them and for their patients and customers. <HOME>
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