Zoetis Adds Abbott, Plans More Apoquel

It’s a busy time for Zoetis as the drug maker completes its purchase of Abbott Animal Health, reports higher sales and profits, and prepares for increased production of Apoquel.

Zoetis Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of veterinary drugs and vaccines, this week wrapped up its takeover of Abbott Animal Health and reported a jump in 2014 sales and profits.

The Florham Park, N.J., company also confirmed that veterinarians eager to prescribe the popular but hard-to-find anti-itch drug Apoquel will see increased supplies starting in April.

The completion of the $255 million acquisition of Abbott was announced Tuesday, less than three months after a tentative deal was reported.

The transaction expands Zoetis’ offerings in the areas of diabetes, anesthesia and pain relief. Among the products that moved to Zoetis are the AlphaTrak blood glucose monitoring system, the anesthesia drug SevoFlo and the feline pain reliever Simbadol.

“We believe Zoetis’ scale, industry-leading field force and global presence will rapidly expand the reach and penetration of these newly acquired, leading brands for the veterinary surgical suite,” Group President Kristin Peck said.

Abbott Animal Health, a division of Abbott Laboratories of Abbott Park, Ill., was a much smaller player in the veterinary pharmaceutical market. The division posted about $80 million in annual revenue, some 60 times less than the $4.8 billion that Zoetis reported today for all of 2014.

Zoetis’ fourth-quarter and year-over-year sales figures rose by 5 percent. Fourth-quarter net income totaled $126 million, an increase of 20 percent over the same period in 2013, and year-end net income was $583 million, a jump of 16 percent.

The revenue forecast for 2015 isn’t as rosy, partly because of a stronger U.S. dollar overseas. Zoetis predicts sales to top out at no more than $4.9 billion.

“We are updating our full year guidance for 2015 to reflect foreign exchange rates as of late January, the closing of the Abbott Animal Health transaction and other changes in our operating assumptions for 2015,” said Paul Herendeen, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Zoetis is counting on increased production of Apoquel (oclacitinib tablet) to shore up sales in 2015. Released in January 2014, the drug won immediate praise from veterinarians and dog owners for its ability to curb itching within 24 hours in many canines suffering from allergic or atopic dermatitis.

Apoquel’s instant popularity led to shortages and sales restrictions, and Zoetis has been working ever since to boost production.

CEO Juan Ramón Alaix credited Apoquel with driving revenue in the company’s companion animal unit.

“We expect to see stronger performance in this area in the future as we significantly increase the supply of Apoquel in April 2015 and continue our investment in discovering, acquiring and launching new products for companion animals,” Alaix said.

In other news, Zoetis:

  • Released Draxxin 25 Injectable Solution, a lower concentration of Draxxin Injectable Solution, to treat bovine respiratory disease in suckling, dairy and veal calves.
  • Added U.S. label claims for Fostera PRRS vaccine. The swine drug now is licensed for whole herd protection against the respiratory and reproductive diseases associated with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus.
  • Launched Suvaxyn MH-One in China. The swine vaccine is indicated for the prevention of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae infections.

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