The ones who brought the idea to life
At Royal Canin, there are three main phases in R&D and Innovation: Discover, Develop and Deploy. Involved at the beginning of a project, the Discover team is hands-on and tends to stay that way over the long-term. The Develop team is the second stop, and they pretty much do what the name implies, developing both projects and products the Discover team has deemed ready to go to the next phase. When both of these departments have taken a project as far as they can, it gets moved along to the Deploy team.
Doctor Virginie Gaillard, Pharm D, PhD, is leading the Birth & Growth Territory in the Discover team at Royal Canin. Doctor Franck Peron, DVM, PhD, is part of Develop, the Global Scientific Support Team. Working together on many projects, they realised they shared a dream: to tap into the wealth of knowledge possessed by those breaking new ground in the world of newborn and puppy health for pets. This shared quest inspired Doctors Gaillard and Peron to envision and bring the Royal Canin Puppy & Kitten Expert Board to fruition. And with it, a way for leaders in the field of newborn and paediatric pet health to support and collaborate with their departments in order to promote long-term well-being for cats and dogs in conjunction with Veterinary practitioners.
Both a pharmacist and a pharmacologist, Dr. Gaillard worked in the pharmaceutical industry, first as lead pharmacologist and lab head in a cutting-edge biotech -- then as an independent expert before bringing her vast knowledge to the veterinary world. Dr. Gaillard has extensive training in statistics and project management as well as in clinical trial experience. It is the synergy of all these areas of expertise that she feels enables her to drive research projects for pets in a safe and efficient way. The goal, always: to answer the unmet needs of pets, pet owners and pet professionals.
It is a goal that Dr. Peron shares. As a vet on the Global Scientific Support Team, Dr. Peron’s job is to provide the scientific substantiation behind the claims made by Royal Canin. Put simply: his role is to be the guardian of the science behind the products. And he is a scientist through and through. Dr. Peron always wanted to be a veterinarian - but also an ethologist, one who studies animal, or human, behaviour, especially as it occurs in their natural habitat. This area of expertise definitely swayed Dr. Peron as he recommended veterinary leaders to take part in the project.
“The goal: to answer the unmet needs of pets, pet owners, breeders and veterinarians.”
— Dr. Gaillard, Doctor of Pharmacy & Pharmacology
Both see themselves as the happy parents of the Puppy & Kitten Expert Board. It was a huge challenge and an example of true collaboration. In creating the board, they brainstormed and selected the board experts together – both agree that they found this exciting and difficult at the same time due to the level of scientific talent from which they had to choose - conducted the interviews and organised the meetings in addition to recruiting a technical writer to support the project. The opportunity to have experts at the top of their fields exchanging and debating on topics of interest for the future well-being of the pets of the world was and is exciting and infinitely informative. The overarching topic, called DOHaD (Developmental Origins of Health and Diseases), or Programming, is quite a young science – it has only been around since the 1980’s. And while very dynamic when it comes to humans and a lot of other species, up till now there has been comparatively little study of pets.
Their hope is that by gathering together experts from very different perspectives (reproduction, neonatology, nutrition, microbiota, growth, genetics...) but all related to Programming and having them meet up and brainstorm together periodically could only benefit our feline and canine friends going forward.