Monsanto Co. has found a buyer for its artificial bovine growth hormone, Posilac.

Elanco, a division of Eli Lilly and Co. said today that Lilly has signed an agreement to acquire the worldwide rights to the dairy cow supplement, as well as the product’s supporting operations, from Monsanto. Elanco has exclusively sold the generic sometribove rBST outside of the United States for a decade.

“Global dairy demand is increasing, outstripping supply, and consumers are seeing rapidly rising prices,” said Jeff Simmons, president of Elanco. “With the purchase of Posilac, Elanco can enhance its overall product portfolio and work together with the industry to provide dairy farmers more options and give consumers affordable choices. Critically, we remain focused on the health and care of the cow in working with farmers to increase global milk supply.

“With our rich history and experience in the dairy industry, Elanco is the ideal steward of this vital technology. Elanco remains committed to using science to address the growing need for safe, affordable food, and to choices for consumers, retailers and producers.”

Posilac has been used for more than 14 years in the United States and in various global markets, but it has never been approved for use in Canada or in Europe. Recent years have seen numerous U.S. dairy processors rejecting milk from cows that are treated with rBST.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will acquire all rights to the Posilac brand, as well as the product’s U.S. sales force and its manufacturing facility in Augusta, Ga. In return, St. Louis-based Monsanto will receive a $300 million upfront payment, as well as contingent consideration.
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