Small British firm moves into a different league - Veterinary Practice
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Small British firm moves into a different league

Veterinary Practice visits the French headquarters of a pharmaceutical company now established in the UK

IN January 2013 the French
company Sogeval acquired Alstoe, a
British company based near York.
This followed several years of a
cross-distribution agreement.

Sogeval SA is a veterinary
pharmaceutical and laboratory company
that has been developing medicines and
products for pets and livestock for over
30 years since its formation in 1978.

Based in Laval in France, it is now
the animal health arm of the
Sofiproteol Group, whose turnover in
2012 was €7.5 billion.

Sogeval itself employs 294 people –
in France, and subsidiaries in the USA,
Brazil, Denmark and the UK – and in
2012 its turnover was €86 million. Its
first subsidiary opened in 2006
in Dallas, Texas, manufacturing
products there under contract.
The Danish operation at
Arlbourg, Jutland, was created
in 2011 to cover the pig market,
and subsequently pet products were
introduced. Sogeval Brazil started in
September 2013. Expansion plans
include spreading into other Nordic

Products are distributed in more
than 60 countries in Europe, Asia,
Africa, the Middle East and South
America, with 50% of sales made
outside France. Sogeval is a leader in
antibiotics in France and a leader in
topicals, such as shampoos, in the USA.

In France, the company employs
230 people, including a partnership with
an Association of Disabled People:
since 1994 Sogeval has had between 10
and 20 members working for them full-
time. This is not a usual practice in
France and something of which Sogeval
is very proud.

In Laval there are five sites with
ultra-modern GMP-certified facilities
covering 6,000 square metres,
comprising R&D (1,000sqm) employing
25 people including regulatory affairs,
and four manufacturing plants for
liquids (hygiene and shampoos),
medicinal powders and tablets, as well as
housing the firm’s head office.

It has production expertise in three
dosage forms of tablets as well as oral
powders, medicated premixes and non-
sterile liquid forms, with all
manufacturing working within a
controlled environment. There is a
production area dedicated to â-lactamine
and hormone-based products.

Traceability is the firm’s main principle in manufacturing and it
operates a system of complete
monitoring and tracking of each batch
at every step of the manufacturing
process with validated processes on
qualified equipment. All ingredients are
processed to ensure they are all of the
same particle size with stringent
procedures in production to prevent the
risk of cross-contamination.

The factory can produce 150,000
tablets an hour and has the capacity to
produce 500 million tablets a year. On
the packing line, a machine even takes
photographs of the process to ensure
there are no broken tablets. A new plant
will open this year for medicated pre-

“We are proud of our know-how to
produce easy-break tablets – a first on the market,” says Jean-Pascal,
companion animal marketing
manager. “The four-piece
breakable tablet, Dolagis, that
you press once to halve and
twice into quarters, giving
equal sizes for accurate and
precise dosing, was developed
by Sogeval.

“Indeed, Sogeval is
constantly developing and
sharing with its customers
solutions to improve daily
routines by offering better
results. We now offer a wide
range of products for dogs
and cats that are easy to
administer, for example
special shaped oblong tablets
for cats have been introduced.
For the veterinary market
there is the need for tablets to
have good flavour, be a good
size and texture and they have to be chewable.”

The pet product ranges comprise: antibiotics (it is a leader in France for
oral antibiotics for cats and dogs);
nutritional supplements (second in the
French market for cats and dogs);
dentistry (first in the oral hygiene
French market with the the Prozym
range); pain management – such as
Vetergesic, a new therapeutic area
invested in by Sogeval to manage
chronic pain, osteoarthritis, and pain
during/after surgery); dermatology –
the Douxo range (second in the French
market and first in the US dermatology
market); and the cardio-nephrology
range, with medicines for heart disease
and kidney problems, including renal
failure in cats.

Producing solutions

For livestock, the company has
developed both preventive and curative
therapies, adapted to the constraints of
modern livestock farming, as well as
products for pigs and poultry for the
prevention and treatment of major
pathogens. The first
disinfectant/insecticide/biocide Mefisto
Shock, launched in France in 2013, was
added to the farm biosecurity range of
TH5, TH4 and Mefisto.

“In the farm sector, requirements
are changing. involving a reduction in
antibiotic use but still maintaining levels
of welfare. So there is the need to
produce solutions,” states Niall
McFerran, country manager for the UK
and Ireland.

“Sogeval was the first to use
paracetamol (Pracetam) in pigs to
reduce fever. Water soluble products will
be required as in-feed
antibiotic use declines. There
are also water soluble
vitamins, to help reduce
stress in poultry and we
hope to launch this range
into UK.”

With regard to
antibiotics, there are four
products within the
registration process and
these are expected to be
launched very shortly.

“Sogeval is a company
designed for vet use, offering
innovative solutions especially for vets. It’s the products and
the support that will determine our
success. You will see a consistent and
regular programme of new product
introductions and new ideas,” says Mr

“I would put our management team
up against any. We were a small
company, but we are now in a different
league. In the UK, we are building a
strong technical back-up of three vets,
headed up by our new technical
director, Andy Forsyth.

“Our UK team is being
strengthened to give better levels of
technical, sales and marketing support.
We will continue to offer in-practice
training and education packages.”

He continues: “We undertook a
customer survey in the UK and Ireland
and found – no surprise – that vets
want products that work, are easy to use
and are of good value.

“But our survey found that of
patients on long-term therapy, 84% gave
up by the end of the first year. All of
our oral pharmaceuticals are flavoured
to improve compliance. And the four-
way break tablet design allows for
greater dose flexibility, which is a huge
improvement. Two Sogeval tablets won
the Icatcare easy-to-give award 2013, of
which we are very proud.

“The goal of Sogeval UK is to
become a leading player for pet and
farm sectors. And we have the expertise,
the products and the team to achieve
this,” he says.

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