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fizer and Wyeth have agreed to sell parts of their animal health business to Boehringer Ingelheim, a move which helps clear the way for their multibillion dollar merger.

Under the terms of the deal, Boehringer will acquire a number of Wyeth’s products, plus research and manufacturing facilities in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The German firm is getting its hands on animal vaccine lines in the USA and Canada “as well as a wide range of pharmaceuticals for pets, cattle and other species”.

The agreement also covers several swine vaccines in Canada and other treatments in Australia, South Africa and some European countries. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Pfizer and Wyeth will be hoping that the deal will help satisfy antitrust regulators and their merger is now expected to close early in the fourth quarter. The European Commission granted regulatory approval for the transaction in July, subject to the commitment to divest certain animal health assets, “some of which” are included in the sale to Boehringer, Pfizer said.

Despite the deal, the Pfizer/Wyeth combo will still be a major player in this field and the divestments are reported to represent less than 10% of their animal health assets. Pfizer’s animal health business brought in $2.83 billion last year, while Wyeth’s division posted sales of $1.08 billion.

Boehringer said the deal “significantly increases” the size of its companion animal and cattle portfolios and chairman Andreas Barner claimed that the deal “is not a sales-driven decision, but rather is driven by the opportunity to add momentum to our strategy for organic growth”.