Merial revenues see sizable jump as NexGard sales are strong in the U.S.

Sanofi's ($SNY) animal health company Merial came out with strong second-quarter earnings for the drug giant, thanks to its heartworm product. While the production animals segment slumped, companion animals grew favorably. 

Second-quarter sales for Merial increased 6.2%, up to $719 million and driven by its flagship canine product, NexGard. Approved by the FDA last year to prevent and kill fleas and ticks, the chewable works for up to a month. In the U.S., Merial's sales growth was up by 14%, up to $311 million, and first-half sales for the animal health business increased by 2.2%, up to $1.4 billion.

On the companion animals side, the segment grew 10.8%, up to $462 million, which Sanofi attributed again to the success of NexGard--along with its antiparacide, Frontline. Sales of NexGard in Q2 reached $47 million, and $42 million of that total came from U.S. sales. First-half sales of the companion animal sales segment increased 3% to $922 million.

Second-quarter sales of the production animals segment dropped 1%, down $257 million, while first-half sales were up 0.8%, by $489 million.

On July 16, Merial relaunched its heartworm tablet, Heartgard. A spokesperson for Merial told FierceAnimalHealth in an email that while its ivermectin drug has been off the market for a few years, the company "is bringing it back due to interest from veterinary customers for an effective heartworm preventive product for dogs with food allergies."

- here's Sanofi's earnings report (PDF)

Special Report: Top 10 animal health companies of 2013 - Merial