Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim is now the front-runner to buy certain animal health assets of Fort Dodge, which makes drugs like ProMeris, ProHeart 6 and the Duramune vaccine line, sources told Reuters.
The assets are being sold by Wyeth to gain approval for its $68 billion merger with Pfizer.
Wyeth is not selling its entire Fort Dodge business, just certain assets within the unit that are valued at roughly $400 million to $500 million, the sources said.
Bidder Novartis has dropped out, while Bayer’s interest appears to be waning, the sources said.
The talks are yet another sign that animal health, long dismissed as a secondary business, is coming out of the doghouse.
French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis last week expanded its animal health business by buying the other half of Merial from its U.S. partner Merck for $4 billion in cash. The two firms also may create a pet and livestock joint venture that could be a leader in the $19 billion animal health market.