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Elanco Completes Takeover of Novartis Animal Health

The Novartis veterinary pharmaceutical division merges with Elanco but loses the Sentinel parasitic line in the process.

Sentinel heartworm and flea preventives for dogs are now sold by Virbac.

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Novartis Animal Health is no more.

The division of Swiss-based Novartis AG officially merged with Elanco Animal Health as of Jan. 1 in a $5.4 billion sale to Elanco’s parent company, Eli Lilly and Co. One day later, Novartis’ U.S. line of Sentinel canine heartworm and flea preventives was spun off to competitor Virbac for $410 million to satisfy regulators’ concerns.

The marriage of Novartis Animal Health and Elanco created the world’s second-largest veterinary pharmaceutical company after Zoetis Inc.

“Elanco’s acquisition of Novartis Animal Health brings together two strong companies with a passion for serving the customer,” said Rob Aukerman, president of North American commercial operations for Elanco. “We will continue to offer the products our customers trust, while significantly investing in the development of new solutions to our customers’ greatest unmet needs.”

Absent from the Elanco portfolio are Sentinel Flavor Tabs and Sentinel Spectrum, which Fort Worth, Texas-based Virbac will now sell. The line generated more than $90 million in U.S. sales in 2014.

Virbac also took on an undisclosed number of Novartis employees—“predominantly commercial teams,” according to the company.

“The addition of these strong brands to Virbac’s current portfolio of products, together with the doubling of the sales and marketing organization, will be key factors for Virbac to better reach and serve the needs of the veterinary clinics and pet owners in the U.S. companion animal veterinary market,” Virbac announced.

“This will both strengthen Virbac’s position in a major market segment, parasiticides for companion animals, and leverage Virbac’s growth potential in other specialties through increased direct contact with the veterinary practitioners.”

Absorbing Novartis Animal Health gives Elanco such veterinary products as:

  •          Atopica (cyclosporine A), for skin conditions in dogs and cats.
  •          Capstar (nitenpyram), for the treatment of flea infestations on cats and dogs.
  •          Deramaxx (deracoxib), for the control of osteoarthritis pain and inflammation and postoperative pain in dogs.
  •          Onsior (robenacoxib), a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug for dogs and cats.
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Norvartis reported 2013 net sales of $1.1 billion and $900 million through the third quarter of 2013.

Elanco, which is based in Greenfield, Ind., and does business in nearly 70 countries, expanded in 2014 with the purchase of German poultry vaccine maker Lohmann Animal Health.

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