Elanco’s Latest Purchase Highlights Kansas’ Pivotal Role In Animal Health

Elanco Animal Health has completed its $7.6 billion purchase of Bayer’s animal health division, marking the third time the company and its former parent have acquired an animal health business in the Kansas City metro.

“We believe that when you create a dedicated company to agriculture, to animals, an independent company with their own investors that want to be in this market, with a strategy centered around veterinarians, farmers and pet owners, and how we can create more value, we believe it will innovate, it will serve, it will create more value,” Elanco chief executive officer Jeff Simmons said Monday during a virtual press conference that marked sale’s close.

Simmons touted the Animal Health Corridor that spans from Manhattan, Kans. to Columbia, Mo. He says the corridor is a key region for their Indiana-based company.

“What the corridor represents to me is exactly what we need: the sourcing, the funding, the collaborating around innovation in animal health as an industry,” Simmons said. “We’re excited that our presence grows in this area. The capabilities are significant and very unique. And Bayer, with what they have in Shawnee, we’re very excited about it and see it as something that was part of the rationale in why we wanted to bring these companies together.”

Elanco spun off from Eli Lilly and Company in 2019, with a focus exclusively on animal health. The company established its presence in Kansas City with its purchase of Ivy Animal Health in 2007 and Aratana Therapeutics in 2018. Like Bayer Animal Health’s North American operations, the two firms were headquartered in Johnson County.  The sale announced last year received final approvals from the Federal Trade Commission last month.

Simmons noted that leadership from Bayer Animal Health will join Elanco’s executive team.  Joyce Lee, who was Bayer Animal Health’s North American operations president, is now Elanco’s vice president of U.S. pet health and commercial operations.  The former president of Bayer Animal Health, Dirk Ehle, is now in charge of Elanco’s European operations.