Dechra to Buy U.S. Drug Maker Putney

$200 million deal is a win for founder Jean Hoffman and investment partner Safeguard Scientifics.

Three of Putney’s 11 generic veterinary drugs.

Putney Inc., a manufacturer of generic veterinary drugs, is being sold for $200 million to a subsidiary of U.K.-based Dechra Pharmaceuticals.

The deal was announced today and is expected to close in April.

The acquisition comes 10 years after New England native Jean Hoffman established the company in Portland, Maine. Today Putney produces 11 generic veterinary drugs and three medications for people, generating $49.6 million in net revenue in 2015.

“The sale underscores the success of Putney’s commercialized product portfolio and our robust development pipeline, which we have built from the ground up since I founded the company in 2006,” Hoffman said. “Putney is the leader in pet generic drugs by any measure: revenues, pipeline, FDA approvals and market share.”

What the sale means for Putney’s Portland operation and its 62 employees is unclear, spokeswoman Susan Hanley said.

“Since the sale hasn’t closed, we don’t know,” Hanley said. “Dechra hasn’t told us about their future plans. They’re committed to the same vet professional that we serve.”

Sharing in the sale proceeds is the investment firm Safeguard Scientifics Inc. The Radnor, Pa., company owns 28 percent of Putney and expects to walk away with at least $58 million, a nearly 400 percent return.

“In less than five years since Safeguard first deployed capital into Putney, the company increased its revenue approximately 350 percent, built out its scientific and medical affairs team, and developed and received FDA approval for 11 veterinary generics,” said Stephen T. Zarrilli, Safeguard’s CEO and a Putney board member.

Purchasing Putney is Dechra Holdings US Inc., whose Dechra Veterinary Products arm is based in Overland Park, Kan. The sale will boost Dechra’s American business, said Ian Page, CEO of Dechra Pharmaceuticals.

“The acquisition of Putney will significantly strengthen Dechra’s position in the U.S. and will provide high-quality, FDA-approved veterinary products and strengthen our pipeline,” Page said.

Putney has struggled at times to distribute its drugs nationwide. Hoffman told Veterinary Practice News last year that some distributors won’t stock the product line because of blocking agreements involving larger manufacturers.

She singled out drug giant Zoetis Inc., whose Rimadyl pain medication competes with Putney-developed generics: Carprofen Chewable Tablets, Carprofen Caplets and Carprofen Sterile Injectable Solution.

“In order for a national distributor to carry either of Zoetis’ popular Rimadyl or Clavamox products, they must agree to not purchase a generic version,” Hoffman said.

Putney in December announced that its entire veterinary line would be distributed by Victor Medical Co. of Lake Forest, Calif.

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