Firms: Bennett & Philp Lawyers (Animal Ethics); Undisclosed (Dechra Pharmaceuticals)
Deal: Dechra Pharmaceuticals acquired a 33 per cent stake in Animal Ethics and obtained the rights to sell Tri-Solfen overseas.
Value: $18 million
Area: Intellectual property, finance
Key players: Bennett & Philp directors Michael Bigg and Lance Pollard acted for Animal Ethics, with support from IP senior associate Nicole Murdoch.
Deal significance: Tri-Solfen is an animal painkiller developed by Australian company Animal Ethics. It was developed in 2004 for use in the controversial practice of mulesing lambs and was approved for use on calves after marking in December 2016.
The drug is used on eight million farm animals a year, according to Animal Ethics. Its use is expected to be extended to piglets.
Its benefit is that it simultaneously anaesthetises, controls bleeding and protects against infection.
Bennett & Philp Lawyers advised Animal Ethics on a long-term intellectual property licensing agreement that gave UK-based Dechra Pharmaceuticals the right to market Tri-Solfen outside Australia and New Zealand.
There are now 35 patents for Tri-Solfen around the world. Bennet & Philp director Lance Pollard said the initial focus for the product will be on pigs in Europe and pigs and cattle in the US.
Bennet & Philp also advised Animal Ethics on Dechra’s acquisition of a 33 per cent stake in the company, worth a reported $18 million.
“The founders of Animal Ethics had an idea to improve animal welfare by reducing pain in animals during routine treatments such as castration, tail docking, [disbudding] and dehorning, in multiple species,” said Mr Pollard.
“It’s a genius idea which we are delighted to help take to a new international level.
“Globally the market potential is conservatively estimated at around $300 million per year, but with the increasing international focus on the ethical treatment of farm animals, this sum could be exceeded once multi-species approval is achieved in the big markets.”