Dechra continues growth spurt with $41M acquisition of Aussie animal drugmaker

Dog at vet
Dechra's acquisition of Apex will bring it into the Australian veterinary market.

The U.K.’s Dechra Pharmaceuticals has been on an acquisition binge over the last year, picking up Croatian poultry vaccine maker Genara for $56.4 million, family-owned veterinary drugmaker Laboratorios Brovel of Mexico for $6 million and U.S.-based generics maker Putney for $200 million. Now it’s expanding its geographic footprint even further, picking up Australia’s Apex Laboratories for AU$55 million ($41.2 million).

Apex, founded in 1962 and based near Sydney, will allow Dechra direct access to the companion animal market in Australia, negating the need for the partners it currently operates through there, the company said in a press release. During the year ended June 2016, Apex brought in sales of AU$14.8 million ($11.1 million) and an operating profit of AU$5.2 million ($3.9 million).

Apex makes both generic and proprietary drugs for pets, according to its website. It was founded as a manufacturer of human pharmaceuticals but now markets its products to veterinarians throughout Australia and New Zealand.

"We are delighted to expand our presence in the Australasian market through the acquisition of Apex which has a technically skilled and experienced team,” said Ian Page, Dechra’s CEO, in the release. “Its portfolio offers a range of veterinary licensed products that are complementary to Dechra's offering, making the business a natural fit within Dechra's therapeutic portfolio.”

The addition will likely boost Dechra’s top line, which has already been growing at an impressive rate. In the first half of its fiscal 2016, the company’s North American sales grew 52% to $34.5 million, thanks largely to a recently opened Canadian operation. Dechra also won FDA approvals for Osphos to treat navicular syndrome in horses, Vetoryl to treat Cushing’s disease in dogs and Zycortal for Addison’s disease in dogs.

The Putney acquisition, which closed in April, is already starting to pay off for Dechra. On September 9, Dechra announced it has received approval from the FDA for a generic antibiotic made by Putney.

- here’s the press release on the acquisition
- and the news on the FDA approval

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