One year after the European launch of Arti-Cell Forte — a stem cell product used to treat lameness in horses — Boehringer Ingelheim has acquired Belgian veterinary biotech company Global Stem cell Technology (GST) with an eye to expanding its portfolio of animal health drugs.
Boehringer ranked as the world’s second largest animal health company in 2019, behind New Jersey-based Zoetis, with about €19 billion (or $21.7 billion) in total net sales. It initially partnered with GST in 2018, and the resulting Arti-Cell Forte was the first veterinary stem cell medicine to gain market authorization from the European Commission.
Boehringer hopes the acquisition will lead to an accelerated development pipeline and expanded veterinary portfolio. Last year, the company pumped €3.5 billion (or $4.1 billion) into R&D. The 2 companies are keeping the terms of the deal under wraps.
“This decision is fully aligned with our recently refocused strategic direction,” Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health head of global innovation Eric Haaksma said in a prepared statement. “Stem cell research areas and regenerative medicine offer an exciting potential for the next wave of innovation we are actively pursuing. In addition, strengthening external partnerships to accelerate our innovative efforts and growth is one of the key elements of our strategy.”
Earlier this month, Boehringer designated $507.9 million to build a new External Innovation Hub in Shanghai. It also began collaborating with Numab Therapeutics to develop drugs for lung and gastrointestinal cancers, and geographic atrophy.