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Behind The Scenes: Vétoquinol/Tomlyn Products


Product focus and geographic expansion keep Vétoquinol and its retail division thriving.
By Katie Ingmire

Examples of mutually beneficial relationships exist throughout all types of society. Among humans, spouses and friends provide each other with emotional support. In the animal world, the clownfish--one of the only species resistant to the sting of the sea anemone--uses the anemone for protection, while the anemone gets its meals from stinging and eating larger fish that the clownfish is able to lure. And in the realm of business, a prime example of a mutually beneficial relationship is that between the veterinary pharmaceutical laboratory Vétoquinol and Tomlyn Products, a division of Vétoquinol USA that produces a full line of pet wellness items.

Teresa Hanson is the U.S. director of marketing and product management for Vétoquinol. Courtesy of Vétoquinol USA.
Tomlyn provides Vétoquinol with a footprint in the U.S. market, specifically in its companion animal segment, according to Teresa Hanson, the U.S. director of marketing and product management for Vétoquinol. A presence in the over-the-counter market is an additional benefit Tomlyn provides. Among the division’s offerings are nutritional supplements, medications and therapeutic skin and coat products. Meanwhile, Vétoquinol gives Tomlyn access to the veterinary-quality formulas it uses to create products and nutraceuticals for companion animals and livestock, with a focus on three major therapeutic areas: pain management, anti-infectives and cardiology-nephrology.

"Tomlyn has the…unique advantage of being affiliated with a veterinarian company, so we have access to veterinarian-quality formulas that other companies might not have access to,” Hanson said. “So some of the kinds of products that you see in our portfolio today, such as Nutri-Cal and Laxatone, are similar to the formulas that are sold through veterinarians.”

Vétoquinol’s presence in animal health came about long before its acquisition of Tomlyn in 2002 from IGI Inc., now known as IGI Laboratories. Independent and family-owned, Vétoquinol was founded as an animal health company in 1933 in Lure, France by pharmacist Joseph Frechin, who developed the quinoline-based veterinary product Vétoquinol that year.

Overby Farm Hip Bones and Hip Flex treats are cherry- and berry-based natural animal health supplements formulated to alleviate hip and joint pain. Courtesy of Tomlyn Products.
Today, the company researches, develops, produces and markets veterinary medicines and nutraceuticals. It is the 11th largest laboratory in the world; distributes its products in about 100 countries throughout Europe, North America and Asia; has subsidiaries in 23 countries; and includes a network of 140 distributors, according to the company. Vétoquinol also has five manufacturing sites, with two in France and one each in Poland, Italy and Canada

“A lot of [Vétoquinol’s] staying power came from the research and development efforts that the company started with,” Hanson said. “Much of what we do in Europe is focused on vaccinations. That became essentially the foundation for the expansion into other markets, such as the United States.”

The company has continued to thrive even in the face of global recession. In 2009, Vétoquinol’s nominal revenue was 252.2 million Euros (approximately $343.5 million), a 7.6 percent increase from 2008’s 234.4 million Euros (approximately $319.2 million), according to company figures. At constant exchange rates, the increase would have been 10.2 percent.


Vétoquinol/Tomlyn Products

Location: Lure, Haute-Saône, France (International Headquarters); Fort Worth, Texas (U.S. Headquarters)

Owner: Étienne Frechin (president and chairman of the board), Manny Martinez (managing director/U.S. leader)

Size: 2,300 square feet, including a 1,500-gallon pond

Employees: 1,400+ (full and part time)

Years in Business: 77

Areas of Distribution: 100 countries throughout Europe, North America and Asia

Company motto/mission: Vétoquinol: "Complete pet wellness"; Tomlyn: "Pet wellness for the life of your pet."

Annual Sales: 252.2 million Euros (2009)

Product Categories: Vétoquinol: curative treatments (anti-infectives, anti-inflammatories and cardiology-nephrology treatments) for companion animals
and livestock; Tomlyn: nutritional supplements, therapeutic skin and coat products, medications

Product Line(s): Vétoquinol: Enisyl-F, Viralys, Azodyl, Epakitin, Propalin, Zentonil, Trifectant, Vetprofen, Rubenal and Renal K+; Tomlyn: Nutri-Cal, Laxatone, Nova Pearls

Websites: www.Vétoquinol.com; www.Vétoquinolusa.com; www.tomlyn.com

Hanson attributes this monetary growth to a combination of strategic investment and penetration into different geographic areas, along with its product focus.

“I think it’s smart expansion…where we understand where the market growth is in terms of geographic segments, and we strategically choose where we want to be geographically,” Hanson said. “I think the other reason why we’re having success globally is we have a very specific focus in terms of pharmaceuticals.

“[This focus] allows you to prioritize your investments, prioritize everything about your business, and in our case, with renal being another example, there’s a lot of growth opportunity in renal,” Hanson continued, referring to one of Vétoquinol’s three product focus areas. “We have a more robust renal care line than any company in the world.”

Like its parent company, Tomlyn is also seizing opportunities for growth. Part of this growth strategy involves seeking out what Hanson calls “best of breed” products.

“We seek partners that have unique product lines, and then we market and sell those products on their behalf,” Hansen said, “but we’re very particular about what kinds of products that we will take into our portfolio.”

Overby Farm Hip Bones and Hip Flex treats and the Natural Pet Pharmaceuticals line are two product groups that made the cut, both of which joined the Tomlyn family in 2009. Hip Bones and Hip Flex are cherry- and berry-based natural animal health supplements formulated to alleviate hip and joint pain, according to the company. Geared toward aging dogs and cats, the products promote Tomlyn’s mission to provide items for all stages of the canine and feline life cycle.

The Natural Pet Pharmaceuticals line includes eight homeopathic remedies for dogs and six for cats, with names such as Better Breath, Teeth & Gums, Stress Control and Urinary Incontinence. With the market trend toward alternative products and treatment therapies, including homeopathics, Hanson said, Tomlyn is taking part in a trend the company anticipates will continue to grow.

“The other reason that we wanted the Natural Pet Pharmaceuticals product line in our portfolio is the product itself,” she said. “It’s an all-water-based product. All the ingredients in it are all-natural and proven from a homeopathic perspective. There’s no alcohol. There’s no sugar. So it’s a very high quality product.”

Tomlyn Products added an all-natural variation of its Laxatone hairball prevention and elimination lubricant in the summer of 2009. Courtesy of Tomlyn Products.
In the summer of 2009, Tomlyn also added an all-natural variation of its Laxatone hairball prevention and elimination lubricant, Hanson reported. Its plans for 2010, she added, include new formulations for nutritional supplements and new medicated shampoos. Additions on the veterinary side include the early 2009 launch of Rubenal, a rhubarb-extract-based product used to manage renal health in dogs and cats.

The long-term goal for Vétoquinol and Tomlyn, though, Hanson said, is to “just stay the course.” This includes focusing on Vétoquinol’s three core areas and better organizing its nutritional supplements and dermatological products, particularly because Vétoquinol USA’s acquisitions since 2002 include not only Tomlyn, but Evsco Pharmaceuticals and the veterinary pharmaceutical company VET Solutions. For Tomlyn, it requires leveraging products from the company’s veterinary side and focusing on a range of items geared to all stages of pets’ lives, Hanson said.

Considering the company’s sustained growth since 1933, staying the course could mean continued success for Vétoquinol and Tomlyn in the years to come. <HOME>

Posted: February 19, 2010 

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