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Currently owned by Virbac, Sentinel Flavor Tabs and Sentinel Spectrum Chews generated about $70 million in U.S. sales last year.
Merck Animal Health has reached an agreement with Virbac to acquire the U.S. rights to Sentinel Flavor Tabs (milbemycin oxime/lufenuron) and Sentinel Spectrum Chews (milbemycin oxime/lufenuron/praziquantel) for approximately $400 million, according to a company press release.
Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., already owns the Bravecto line of extended-duration flea and tick parasiticides for cats and dogs. Acquisition of the Sentinel products—which target common intestinal parasites—will enable Merck Animal Health to offer a comprehensive range of products that address the seven most common parasites that affect dogs: ticks, fleas, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms and heartworms.
According to a recent American Heartworm Society survey, no state in the country was heartworm-free in 2019. And the Companion Animal Parasite Council reported that canine Lyme disease cases increased from 245,971 in 2015 to 336,200 in 2019. Over the same period, cases of canine ehrlichiosis increased from 107,985 to 186,075. Veterinary parasitologists have long emphasized the use of preventives to protect companion animals.
“Veterinary medicines, including parasiticides, and vaccines have transformed the health of animals over the past decade,” says Rick DeLuca, president of Merck Animal Health, in the release. “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. These products will provide a full range of complementary solutions for our customers to improve the health and well-being of animals and the people who care for them.”
The transaction is expected to be finalized in the coming months. “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,” François Fournier, president and chief executive officer, Virbac United States, says in the release. “We believe that Merck Animal Health is the right company, ideally positioned to keep developing these products in a sustainable manner.”