New name embraces two of the oldest in expanding group - Veterinary Practice
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New name embraces two of the oldest in expanding group

Vetinary Practice visits Dechra Veterinary Products to learn more about this British-based group and where it is heading

DECHRA is a name that has become familiar to most veterinary practices over the last few years.

Despite being one of the newest names in British pharmaceuticals, it is now the seventh largest animal health company in the UK and is in the FTSE 250, with a number of advances for animal health already under its belt.

With a UK product range focused on prescription-only veterinary medicines for dogs, cats and horses, Dechra’s main areas of specialisation are in endocrinology, dermatology, equine medicine, ophthalmology and critical care.

The name Dechra is derived from a Welsh term, meaning new beginnings; the company’s history, however, has been woven into the backbone of the veterinary industry for more than 190 years.

The original company, Arnold and Son, was established in 1819 in Wigmore Street, London, making prosthetic limbs. During the Crimean War it was evident that horses, and not just humans, were being injured and the company saw the opportunity and turned its attention to supporting veterinary medicine.

Today’s Dechra has grown and evolved from a management-team buyout back in 1997 of NVS, Arnolds and Dales Pharmaceuticals from the Lloyds Chemists Group, which had itself by then been acquired by a German pharmacy chain.

The newly-formed group, which was funded by Mercury Asset Management (now Hg Capital) and by the management team remortgaging their houses, was named Dechra.

More recently, in 2008 the group acquired and rebranded VetXX Holding S/A, which boosted the range of pharmaceutical products, introduced a range of veterinary exclusive diets and gave the company European distribution.

Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC (“Dechra”) now comprises six businesses operating in two divisions: pharmaceuticals and services. Both divisions are focused on the veterinary market.

The umbrella of Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC comprises Dechra Veterinary Products EU, Dechra USA, Dales Pharmaceuticals, NVS (National Veterinary Services), Nationwide Laboratories and Cambridge Specialist Laboratory Services.

Wide range

Dechra Veterinary Products’ EU (DVPEU) whose headquarters are jointly located in Shrewsbury, England, and Uldum, Denmark, markets and sells pharmaceutical products, pet care products and instruments and consumables, as well as veterinary exclusive pet diets within 10 European countries and employs 212 people.

The DVP-EU product range includes the former VetXX and Arnolds brands, which are now both fully incorporated into Dechra’s portfolio.

During the last five years Dechra has licensed a number of specialist products, of which Vetoryl Capsules and Felimazole Tablets currently represent the biggest opportunities for international growth.

Vetoryl, a well-known, novel treatment for Cushing’s syndrome (hyperadrenocorticism) in dogs, and Felimazole, a leading treatment for feline hyperthyroidism, are both licensed in all major EU territories. Vetoryl was also licensed in the USA at the beginning of the year and Felimazole in June.

Dales Pharmaceuticals manufactures the vast majority of Dechra’s branded licensed pharmaceutical products. This manufacturing arm of the group also derives approximately 50% of revenues from third-party manufacture, predominantly for human pharmaceutical companies. This is the only significant source of revenue that Dechra does not derive from the veterinary market.

Although Dales Pharmaceuticals has only been part of Dechra since 1997, Dales’ history stretches back to 1948, making it one of the oldest names in the British pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. Operating from an 83,000 square foot facility in Skipton, North Yorkshire, Dales now employs around 200 people.

The “services division” of Dechra comprises NVS (National Veterinary Services), Nationwide Laboratories (NWL) and Cambridge Specialist Laboratory Services (CSLS).

NVS is now the only British-owned veterinary distributor in the UK. It has been a significant part of Dechra since its inception and remains the largest individual company within the group, employing around 470 people.

Headquartered in Stoke-on-Trent, NVS began trading in August 1989 and stocks 12,500 products, distributed to 1,500 veterinary practices utilising its own fleet of vans and heavy goods vehicles.

Nationwide Laboratories (NWL), located in Poulton-le-Fylde, forms part of the group’s veterinary laboratory referral services. Employing 80 people, it is a first referral veterinary laboratory. CSLS, located in Sawston, Cambridgeshire, employs seven people and operates as a first and second referral laboratory, with its key area of expertise being endocrinology.

The future

Dechra UK’s MD, Bob Parmenter, is confident that it will continue to improve its position as a leading veterinary pharmaceutical company.

“Dechra is a progressive business with lively, experienced and capable people who know what they are doing and where they want to get to. We can react quickly to market demand and are not held back by red tape.

“Key to our continued success is product development and we have a number of studies currently underway which will bring exciting products to the companion animal sector in future years.

“As well as investing in development, we are also committed to the enhancement of practice support through the appointment of appropriately trained staff, co-operation with key opinion leaders and universities and helping practices support their clients. We’re not a company that will rest on its laurels and we are very excited about the future.”

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