Merck, Sanofi outline plans for new animal health JV

The newly created Merial-Intervet is being forged by Merck and Sanofi-Aventis into a global powerhouse in the animal health industry, and it will rely heavily on income from some best-selling vaccines to garner an expected $5 billion in annual sales.

The company will sell Recombitek, a vaccine that guards horses against West Nile virus, Eclipse for cats and Galaxy for dogs, among other shots. Earlier this week, the two pharma companies tapped the new CEO of the JV: Raul Kohan, currently president of Intervet/Schering-Plough, Merck's animal health business. Kohan joined Schering-Plough in 1984 and was one of the assets Merck picked up in its buyout of the company.

The worldwide animal health market reached $19 billion in 2008, according to the two companies, and is expected to continue to grow at a healthy clip of 5 percent per year for the next five years, driven in part by a growing demand for protein therapeutics.

- here's the press release on Kohan
- and here's the AP's list of the JV's top products