Elanco Animal Health is ”exploring strategic options” for Posilac, including seeking a buyer for the recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) molecule and its manufacturing facility located in Augusta, Georgia.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

Elanco acquired the worldwide rights to Posilac, an injectable supplement designed to increase milk production in dairy cattle, from Monsanto Company in late 2008. While seeking a potential buyer, Elanco will continue to produce and supply Posilac to meet customer demand.

Posilac received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 1994. Despite that approval, the product has faced near-continuous criticism from some consumer advocacy organizations. Increased pressure from those groups has led many dairy processors to refuse to accept milk from cows treated with rBST.

The decision regarding Posilac is independent of the current cyclical downturn in milk prices, but rather represents a long-term strategic shift in Elanco’s dairy portfolio, said Grady Bishop, senior director of global market access for the company. The company did not disclose the number of cows supplemented with Posilac in the U.S. or worldwide, but Bishop said the product remains a business growth opportunity in emerging dairy regions of Latin American and some countries in the Middle East, he said.

The outlook for a continued trend toward larger and fewer U.S. dairy herds also was a factor in the decision, said Roger Cady, Elanco’s global sustainability lead. 


The decision will allow the company to bring new products that help farmers protect animal health, enhance animal care and improve profitability, Bishop said.

Dairy animals will remain a focus. The company said it would focus on innovations to address the physical and metabolic changes that can interfere with energy balance and immune function in lactating dairy cows.

“As we look to the future, we’re exploring innovative solutions that work with the animal’s own immune system and other biological mechanisms to help her be more resistant and resilient to stress, disease and other challenges,” said Aaron Schacht, Elanco vice president for research and development.

“There are still many unmet needs dairy farmers face today, and we are focused on optimizing our investment on new dairy innovation to fill the gaps we see,” said Jeff Simmons, president of Elanco. “rBST is an important innovation for dairy farmers around the world, bringing substantial benefits to dairy farmers, consumers and the environment for nearly 25 years. As we move forward, we are seeking to shift to new areas of innovation to bring greater future value to the industry.”

Elanco’s dairy research and product development will target bovine respiratory disease (BRD), mycoplasma and dairy cattle digestive health. The company will also explore whether its Imrestor product shows potential to address other dairy cattle health challenges. Imrestor is approved in the U.S. to treat clinical mastitis in dairy cows and replacement dairy heifers.

Founded in 1954, Elanco is a division of Eli Lilly and Company, with headquarters and research facilities located in Greenfield, Indiana.  end mark

Dave Natzke