Boehringer corrals Wy-Pfi animal assets

The animal-health shuffle continues. As expected, Pfizer and Wyeth are offloading some animal health assets in advance of their merger, in part to get regulatory approval for the deal. Boehringer Ingelheim's Vetmedica will pick up the assets, which include products sold in several countries and manufacturing and research facilities in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Wy-Pfi's animal health sale is the second wave of merger-prompted musical chairs in the business. Merck sold its 50 percent stake in Merial to partner Sanofi-Aventis, also to speed regulatory clearance of its merger with Schering-Plough. The French company also has an option to go back into joint venture with Merck, once the latter has brought Schering's animal health business into the fold.

Animal drugs, vaccines, and other products are seen as a growth market--and a route toward diversifying beyond the human drugs that are going off patent. Boehringer sees the acquisition as an "excellent strategic fit" and an "opportunity to add momentum" to growth, especially in its animal-vaccine business. As for Wy-Pfi, the sold-off assets amount to just 10 percent of their combined animal-health businesses. So they're far from giving up on the vet market.

- see the Boehringer release
- read the news from Reuters