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Veterinary Forum February 2007 (Vol 24, No 2)

Eli Lilly and Co. enters companion animal health market

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Eli Lilly and Co. will launch a new business group focused on companion animal health. The group will produce innovative medicines for dogs and cats under the Lilly brand name.

    Lilly made the announcement recently at The North American Veterinary Conference here just before the inaugural Lilly Lectureship address by noted anthropologist and author Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. The 130-year-old pharmaceutical company also announced a $250,000 endowment to the Center for the Human"Animal Bond at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine to fund an annual lecture series to support veterinarians' understanding of physiologic, psychological, and sociologic aspects of the human"animal bond.

    "Veterinarians are essential allies to the millions who experience the human"animal bond," Thomas said during her lecture, adding: "Human-animal companionship is at the core of our instincts not only for mutual survival but mutually rewarding relationships." Thomas' 2006 book The Old Way: A Story of the First People addresses how the skills and customs of early hunter-gatherer humans share much in common with the survival tactics of animals.

    "Supporting the role of veterinarians and enabling them to help pets is at the heart of everything Lilly will do," said Eric Graves, director, companion animal health. "We intend to become one of companion animal veterinarians' most trusted and valued partners."

    Much of that value lies in the rich library of the company's proprietary molecules, which Lilly scientists have been evaluating for pet use over the past 7 years, according to Stephen Connell, DVM, manager of technical, academic and consumer services. Elanco Animal Health, the Lilly food animal division, has served livestock veterinary practitioners with distinction since 1954, he added.

    "We appreciate that the companion animal sector is a dynamic marketplace, and our value to the profession will be measured by the performance of our products and our people," said Graves, noting that the company's first product introductions are expected within the year, pending approval by the FDA. These medicines will address serious conditions that affect both pet health and the human-pet bond.

    "Lilly respects the relationships veterinarians have with both their clients and their patients. We join veterinarians as partners and will empower them with a family of innovative products and supportive people, all focused on improving pet health and enhancing the human"pet bond," Graves concluded.

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