Fort Dodge Animal Health Future Undecided

Division of assets between Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim in process.

Published on: Oct 20, 2009

The future of the more the 200 employees of Fort Dodge Animal Health headquarters in Overland Park is in question in the wake of the acquisition of its parent company, Wyeth, by Pfizer.

 

Pfizer spokesman Rick Goulart said the facility, which has been the headquarters of Fort Dodge since 1995, will remain open "during the time of transition" but that a decision for the long term has not been made.

 

Pfizer's corporate headquarters are in New Jersey and its primary research and development is in Kalamazoo, Mich.

 

At least part of Fort Dodge is likely to remain in the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, however.

 

Anti-trust regulators required Pfizer to divest part of the assets of Fort Dodge and Boehringer Ingelheim, a German company with U.S. headquarters in St. Joseph, Mo., will acquire those.

 

Amy Kunkel, a spokeswoman for Boehringer, said that she cannot reveal details of the company's plans until after the acquisition deal closes, but she did confirm that two research and development facilities in Fort Dodge, Iowa, are part of the assets that will go to Boehringer.

 

"Once the deal closes, everything will be much clearer," she said.

In January, Fort Dodge put plans to build a 200,000-square-foot, $40 million facility in the new Kansas Bioscience Park in Olathe on hold.

 

That facility was to be a new research facility and the first tenant in the park, which is being developed on the grounds of the new Kansas State University Innovation campus.

 

Ralph Richardson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State, said he thinks the involvement of Boehringer bodes well for the future of the Animal Health Corridor.

 

"Both Pfizer and Boehringer are excellent companies and we have had research relationships with both of them," he said. "The assets of Fort Dodge will give Boehringer a much bigger presence and will significantly strengthen their position in the field of companion animal health."

 

The region between Columbia, Mo. and Manhattan known as the Animal Health Corridor is home to the largest concentration of animal health companies in the world, with more than 13,000 specialists and 100 companies located in the region.

 

Animal health is a $15.2 billion market globally and about 32 percent of that market is located in the corridor.