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Merck to purchase Virbac’s Sentinel line

The $400 million deal adds Flavor Tabs and Spectrum to a Merck parasiticide catalog that already includes Bravecto.

Merck to purchase Virbac’s Sentinel line
U.S. sales of Sentinel Flavor Tabs and Sentinel Spectrum totaled $70 million in 2019.

Virbac Corp. has agreed to sell two popular parasiticides to Merck Animal Health for $400 million five years after purchasing the U.S. rights from Eli Lilly and Co.

The two canine products, Sentinel Flavor Tabs and Sentinel Spectrum, generated $70 million in U.S. sales in 2019.

“These brands are well-known and trusted parasiticide products that should continue to provide value to both veterinary clinics and pet owners in the United States for years to come,” said François Fournier, president and CEO of Virbac United States. “We believe that Merck Animal Health is the right company, ideally positioned to keep developing these products in a sustainable manner.”

A statement released by Virbac said the sale would permit the company “to refocus on our existing portfolio of products … and maximize our growth potential, either organically through future launches, or through acquisitions.”

Under the agreement, which is expected to close by mid-2020, Virbac will continue to manufacture Sentinel Spectrum at its Bridgeton, Missouri, factory for 10 years.

The prescription drugs are given monthly to dogs. Sentinel Flavor Tabs (milbemycin oxime/lufenuron) are indicated for the prevention of heartworm disease and for the control of fleas, roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. Sentinel Spectrum Chews (milbemycin oxime/lufenuron/praziquantel) protect against the same parasites as well as tapeworms.

The Sentinel products complement Merck’s Bravecto line of flea and tick preventives.

“We plan to use the extensive breadth and depth of our product portfolio, which includes Bravecto, a range of companion animal vaccines and the Sure Petcare portfolio of digital products, along with the Sentinel-branded products, to enhance our offerings of comprehensive pet care solutions,” said Rick DeLuca, president of Merck Animal Health.

Virbac in early 2015 paid $410 million for the U.S. rights to the Sentinel brand. The previous owner, Eli Lilly and Co., divested Sentinel when the company acquired Novartis Animal Health and merged it with Elanco Animal Health.

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