Web Date: January 17, 2007
Lilly Enters Companion Animal Health Market
Two big drug companies known for making medicines for humans are demonstrating a growing interest in pet prescriptions.
Eli Lilly & Co. has launched a new business focused on making medicines for dogs and cats. And earlier this month, Pfizer won FDA approval for Slentrol (dirlotapide), which is the first drug available for managing obesity in dogs.
Both companies are chasing a market that is small by human health standards but still lucrative. In 2005, U.S. pet owners spent $17.4 billion on veterinary care, supplies, and over-the-counter medications, and the numbers are expected to increase, according to data assembled by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.
Pfizer has an established animal health care division, including several drugs already on the market for small and large animals. Lilly's food animal division, Elanco Animal Health, has served livestock veterinarians since 1954.
Lilly says the new pet business has been in the works for more than seven years. During that time, Lilly scientists have been evaluating the company's library of proprietary molecules for pet use, according to Stephen Connell, manager of technical, academic, and consumer services at Lilly.
Eric Graves, Lilly's director for companion animal health, announced the new business at the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Fla. "We intend to become one of companion animal veterinarians' most trusted and valued partners," he said. Lilly expects to launch its first products within the year, pending FDA approval.
Lilly concurrently announced a $250,000 endowment for an annual lecture series at the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine.
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