Intervet/Schering-Plough to take parent’s name

Drug maker Merck’s animal health division will now do business in both Canada and the U.S. as, appropriately enough, Merck Animal Health.

Merck last week announced the name change effective June 29 for the business known until now as Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health.

The Dutch parent firm said its decision follows its March 22 announcement that a planned merger between Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health and fellow drug maker Sanofi-Aventis’ animal health arm Merial would not go ahead.

Merial had started life in 1997 as a 50/50 joint venture between Merck and Sanofi-Aventis, lasting until Merck shed its stake in July 2009, with the option for a later merger between Merial and Intervet/Schering-Plough.

That merger was set to proceed until Merck and Sanofi-Aventis said in March they “mutually decided to discontinue their agreement primarily because of the increasing complexity of implementing the proposed transaction.”

“The name change reflects Merck’s commitment to animal health and its complementary role to the overall business,” Raul Kohan, Merck Animal Health’s president, said in a release last week.

Merck said it “sees growth opportunities in the business that can be leveraged across both animal and human health” and that it “intends to capitalize on Merck Animal Health’s broad and innovative portfolio going forward.”

The animal health business, which generated worldwide sales of US$2.9 billion in 2010, has a product portfolio in Canada including cattle and swine antibiotic Nuflor, cattle vaccine Vista, livestock anti-inflammatory drug Banamine and coccidiosis vaccine Coccivac, among others.

Merck’s animal health arm will do business as MSD Animal Health outside Canada and the U.S.

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