Media Coverage

Boehringer becomes top spender on animal health R&D


May 09, 2018 - Animal Pharm
By Joseph Harvey
Animal Pharm
May 9, 2018


Boehringer Ingelheim has become the leading player in terms of R&D expenditure in animal health.

At the company's recent annual press conference in Ingelheim, chief information officer Michael Schmelmer told Animal Pharm it dedicated around 9% of its annual sales to animal health R&D during fiscal 2017. He estimated this proportion equated to between €360-€400 million (9.2%-10.3%).

The lower end of this estimate is nearer to 9% and translates to $459m, which puts Boehringer far ahead of any competitors in this area following its merger with Merial. The infographic below uses the lower end of the Boehringer estimate.

In a recent Animal Pharm interview, Joachim Hasenmaier – Boehringer's head of animal health – said the division spends 90% of its R&D kitty on vaccines, antiparasitics and therapeutics. This leaves 10% of its funds to explore new areas of interest such as diagnostics and digital technologies.

Boehringer has overtaken Zoetis, which spent $380m on R&D in 2017. This equates to 7.2% of annual revenues. Zoetis itself is spreading its R&D across a wider spectrum of product categories, with the industry leader also delving into diagnostics and digital technology.

Decline in R&D spend?

The average annual outlay on R&D among animal health's biggest businesses is 8.3% Previously, AnimalhealthEurope told Animal Pharm that European R&D spend in animal health has dropped since 2006 from 10% of turnover to just under 8% in 2015.

While some companies invest more in defensive R&D and new generics, this might be counteracted by increased spending on first-time innovations such as Cytopoint from Zoetis.

However, novel products like monoclonal antibodies are few and far between in animal health. Many of the leading firms have been partnering with start-ups that naturally have a much higher R&D spend.

The infographic below highlights Animal Pharm's estimates for R&D expenditure among animal health's leading businesses.

Zoetis is the only company to issue an official figure for R&D expenditure. Other firms have previously indicated their percentage spend on R&D in presentations or interviews with Animal Pharm.

Reprinted with permission of Animal Pharm News

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