Lilly agrees to buy European animal health company

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Elanco, the animal health division of Eli Lilly and Co., has agreed to acquire Jannsen Animal Health, a subsidiary of New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson, pending regulatory approval.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. But Elanco, based in Greenfield, would acquire about 50 animal health products that Janssen sells in Europe, mostly focused on pigs, poultry and pets. Elanco also would bring on an unspecified number of Janssen’s employees.

Elanco currently employs 2,300 people in more than 40 countries.

Lilly has been trying to grow its animal health business through acquisitions in order to build up revenue expected to be lost late this year when its bestselling human drug Zyprexa faces competition from cheaper generic copies. They will sap most of Zyprexa’s $5 billion a year in sales.

Last year, Elanco pulled in revenue of nearly $1.4 billion, up 15 percent from the previous year. Elanco’s drugs are mainly for pigs, poultry, cows and pets.

"The addition of Janssen's animal health business will strongly support a number of strategic growth priorities for Elanco," said Elanco President Jeff Simmons in a statement. He added, "Through this transaction, we intend to further expand our European presence, bolster our growing portfolio of companion animal medicines and diversify our food animal portfolio with new swine and poultry products. 

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