Dechra snaps up generics maker Putney in $200M animal health deal

U.K.-based Dechra Pharmaceuticals has employed acquisitions to expand its global footprint, and now it's taking that strategy to the U.S., picking up generic animal drug maker Putney for $200 million. Dechra, which has a handful of veterinary products approved in the U.S., will gain 11 approved drugs for animals, including carprofen, a generic version of Zoetis' ($ZTS) hit drug Rimadyl, an anti-inflammatory for dogs.

The deal is expected to close in April, creating a company that had combined net revenues of about $350 million in 2015 according to a press release.

The Putney deal is Dechra's largest since last August when it paid $56.5 million for a controlling stake in Genara, a Croatia-based maker of poultry vaccines. In January, Dechra said it would pay up to $6 million for Laboratorios Brovel SA de CV, a family-owned veterinary pharma manufacturer in Mexico.

Putney will boost Dechra's expanding presence in North America. In the first half of Dechra's fiscal 2016, its North American sales grew nearly 52% at constant exchange rates to £24.5 million ($34.5 million), thanks to its newly opened Canadian operation, as well as some key drug approvals in the U.S. They included Osphos, a drug to treat navicular syndrome in horses, and Vetoryl for the endocrine disorder Cushing's disease in dogs. Dechra is expecting another U.S. approval soon, of Zycortal, a drug to treat Addison's disease in dogs.

"In line with our strategy, 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," said Ian Page, CEO of Dechra, in a press release announcing the deal.

The deal is also a victory for Putney, which was founded by Jean Hoffman in Portland, ME, in 2006. Hoffman raised $50 million in venture capital and set out to build a pipeline of 20 generic veterinary drugs. The company continued to churn out inexpensive copies of branded products and market them to veterinary clinics, even when the competition put up barriers to try and stop it. Hoffman told FierceAnimalHealth in 2014 that Zoetis was preventing large distributors from carrying generic versions of its products, so Putney had to rely on smaller distributors--and its own salespeople--to get its products into veterinary clinics.

Hoffman says the Dechra deal is vindication, underscoring "the success of Putney's commercialized product portfolio and our robust development pipeline, which we have built from the ground up," she stated in the press release. "This combination takes advantage of both Putney's and Dechra's complementary scientific knowledge, regulatory expertise and product development and commercialization skills."

- here's the release