Boehringer Ingelheim bets big on pet care segment in India; launches products for parasite control

New Delhi: Global human pharma and animal healthcare firm Boehringer Ingelheim plans to bring innovative products catering mainly to pets and poultry segment in India, as it expects these verticals to grow in a robust manner over the next few years, a top company official said on Friday.

The company, which on Friday launched two new products -- NexGard and Broadline to take care of parasites in dogs and cats -- is looking to bolster its presence in the companion animal healthcare business and poultry with the introduction of niche products and cater to unmet needs.

Boehringer Ingelheim India Managing Director Sharad Tyagi told PTI in an interview that the company is focusing on poultry and companion animals (pets) segments in the country because lots of people were preferring to keep pets due to rapid urbanisation and advent of nuclear families.

Similarly, the poultry segment presents many opportunities as it is somewhat organised, and has certain direction and growth in which the company believes it can participate well, he noted.

"As the country is moving towards urbanisation and nuclear families, we are seeing that there is big movement in terms of people having pets. That would mean they would obviously be interested in health of the pets," Tyagi said.

The products, which the company is bringing, are not just common products, these are where it has global strengths, he noted.

Elaborating on the pet care segment, Tyagi said the vertical is still at a nascent stage in India but the mind sets and attitude towards owning pets is going through a colossal shift.

"India pet care market is expected to grow with a CAGR of more than 20 per cent by 2021-22. The Indian animal healthcare market is an integral part of company's growth plans and the companion health segment is going to be one of the major growth drivers for us," he added.

The launch of the two new products is another step towards strengthening company's foothold in this segment, he noted.

NexGard meets the need of pet owners to treat ecto parasites. The product kills ticks, fleas and mites. It starts to kill fleas before they lay eggs, thus preventing subsequent infestation.

Available only on prescription, a single chew prevents and treats parasite infestations in dogs for a full month. NexGard can be administered in dogs as well as puppies, from as early as 8 weeks old and 2kgs. It can also be administered in the case of glycoprotein-deficient collies.

Similarly, Broadline targets formulation all major parasites in cats and kittens.

"With NexGard and Broadline, we are confident that our innovative solution will help pet owners and veterinarians to protect the health of our four-legged friends in a more consistent and convenient way," Boehringer Ingelheim India Head of Animal Health Sandeep Karkhanis said.

The products are currently being imported and it would be at a later stage that the company would look of investing in a production facility in India, he added.

"We are just beginning here, so does not make sense to have manufacturing or go for third party production, so currently we are importing the products mainly from France and some of the vaccines also come from the US," he noted.

The company already sells vaccines for the poultry segment in the country, he said.

"If the market size becomes bigger and it becomes attractive then one can think about it in future. Right now, we will focus on getting the market share and developing the market. We firmly believe we should be part of market creation," Tyagi noted.

The companion health care segment in India is just around Rs 400 crore, with market share of multi national companies (MNCs) is just around 30 per cent.

Karkhanis said the vertical has posted growth of 10-15 CAGR in the last five years and it is expected to grow in the similar range over the next five years as well.

Elaborating on future pipeline, Karkhanis said the company plans to introduce recombinant vaccines for poultry as well as companion segment going ahead.

He added that 20 per cent of the company's revenues go into R&D thus leading to a niche pipeline of innovative products.

Boehringer Ingelheim employs around 1,000 people in India. It has presence in both human pharmaceutical and animal healthcare segments.

Globally, Boehringer Ingelheim is the second largest player in animal Healtcare business with leadership across various product segments.

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