Bayer to divest equine assets to Merial

Divestiture includes Legend/Hyonate and Marquis products for equine health.

Bayer HealthCare has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its equine products Legend/Hyonate (hyaluronate sodium) and Marquis (ponazuril) to Merial Inc.

"This transaction will allow our business to focus on innovation and growth in core segments for both companion and farm animals," said Dr. Dirk Ehle, head of Bayer HealthCare's Animal Health Division. "These equine products have no strategic relevance for our business and represent less than 2% of our worldwide sales."

Hyaluronate sodium, marketed worldwide for over two decades as Legend or Hyonate, is an injectable solution that treats noninfectious joint dysfunction in horses.

Marquis (ponazuril) Antiprotozoal Oral Paste, marketed in North America for more than a decade, treats equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) — a disease that affects the central nervous system in horses.

"We are pleased to add two top equine products to our global portfolio. Legend and Marquis are highly regarded by the horse community and further support our commitment to equine veterinarians, horse owners and trainers," said Merial chief executive officer and Sanofi executive vice president Carsten Hellmann. "This addition is one example of our strategy to invest in business opportunities that enable us to deliver innovative solutions to veterinarians across animal species."

The purchase, expected to be finalized in early 2015, further broadens Merial's portfolio of products that improve the health and performance of horses, an announcement from Sanofi, parent company of Merial, said. Legend/Hyonate is primarily sold in the U.S. and Canada, but is available in more than 40 countries with the U.K. and Japan as important markets. Marquis is only sold in the U.S. and Canada. Merial plans to make both products available to veterinarians in countries around the world. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.

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