As a leading provider of animal healthcare, Boehringer Ingelheim supports veterinarians, pet and livestock owners, and public health officials around the world. The company builds on a dedicated global R&D network, the synergies with Human Pharma and external partnerships.

Arthritis, diabetes, hypertension. Many people know a loved one who suffers from one of these diseases. Thanks to innovative pharmaceutical products, their lives are improved. At the same time, cats and dogs are increasingly coping with these diseases, too. Boehringer Ingelheim addresses these unmet medical needs by focusing on disease and system-centric approaches. By doing so, the company creates opportunities to address disease conditions in larger populations and across species, encompassing both pets and livestock animals, while also revealing untapped synergies between Human Pharma and Animal Health. Zoonosis shows how important these connections are: Two thirds of the emerging human infectious diseases are zoonotic, passed from animals to humans. Boehringer Ingelheim therefore expects continuing advances in both prevention and treatment. This interdisciplinary approach to both Human Pharma and Animal Health is unique and sets the company apart from most competitors. However, this mindset is rather natural, as Jean Scheftsik de Szolnok, Member of the Board of Managing Directors with responsibility for the Animal Health business, explains: “The lives of humans and animals are interconnected in deep and complex ways. By adopting this interdisciplinary approach, we deliver value through innovation and enhance the well-being of both.”

Over the course of the last years, these synergies have led to several innovative and successful products. In 2018, for example, Boehringer Ingelheim introduced SEMINTRA®, a product approved to help control systemic hypertension in cats, using an angiotensin II receptor blocker – the same active compound as MICARDIS®, used to treat essential hypertension in humans. With such tools to effectively control hypertension, not only humans, but also their pets, can enjoy an improved and extended quality of life. And, in the future, these synergies will be found even more quickly.

“Partnerships and collaborations are among the most impactful ways to innovate the Animal Health sector.”
Jean Scheftsik de Szolnok
Member of the Board of Managing Directors Animal Health
The Disease Map as the Core of Global Innovation

These synergies do not come by chance. As a research-driven company, the worldwide R&D network of Boehringer Ingelheim is the powerhouse for innovation. “In the future, we want to discover, develop, and deliver breakthrough therapies in those areas with unmet needs,” as Prof. Dr. Eric Haaksma, Head of the company's Animal Health Global Innovation Division, outlines. Accordingly, in 2020, Boehringer Ingelheim began the implementation of a transformational innovation strategy. This process is guided by a Disease Map, a tool that gives a comprehensive overview of diseases for the main species and regions. In terms of R&D, the Disease Map sets the stage for the development of innovative solutions, identifying key focus areas in vaccines, parasiticides, and therapeutics. Like a compass, it navigates scientists in new directions – towards promising new synergies, unmet needs, research potential, and future markets. As of the end of 2020, the initial version of the map includes already nearly 2,500 established diseases.

In line with this process, Global Innovation is creating six Regional Centers in strategic locations. Each Regional Center focuses on specific fields, enabling efficient use of resources.


The Power of Partnerships

Beyond these internal developments, shared innovation through partnerships lead to even more groundbreaking solutions. In September 2020, Boehringer Ingelheim acquired an equity stake in New Ruipeng Group (NRP Group), which operates digital and clinical pet services across China and had served as a strategic partner before. David Gocken, the Head of Animal Health Boehringer Ingelheim for the Chinese market, describes this evolution: “It has become clear that we can bring more innovation more quickly to the pet market in China, and we are committed to expanding our active role in this dynamic and fast-paced market now.” Another strategic partnership which has entered a new stage through acquisition is GST.

In October 2020, Boehringer Ingelheim announced its partnership with Henke-Sass. This cooperation with a leading provider of medical technology in Germany has already led to the development of an innovative intramuscular needle-free vaccine injection tool for pigs.


Recognizing the enormous therapeutic potential of stem cell research, Boehringer Ingelheim acquired the Belgium-based biotechnology company Global Stem cell Technology (GST) in July 2020. Prof. Dr. Jan Spaas, the founder of GST, and his team are now an integral part of the Animal Health team at Boehringer Ingelheim.

read more