[11 December/FiercePharma] Jean Scheftsik de Szolnok, Boehringer Ingelheim’s (BI) president in France, said BI is making a big strategic commitment to animal health by investing EUR335 million in its French animal health R&D and production facilities. Following BI’s USD12.5 billion asset swap with France’s Sanofi in 2016, where it traded its’ consumer health business for Sanofi’s veterinary medicine unit, the reorganization will see BI cutting 327 of its 2,800 workers in France and creating 32 new jobs, 6 of which will be created in animal health. As a result of the asset swap, animal health accounted for 22% of BI’s USD18 billion in sales in 2017, up from 9% the previous year. NexGard was the unit’s top-selling product, bringing in EUR546 million for the year. Recently, Bayer said it would separate its animal health unit as part of a major shakeup of that group following its acquisition of Monsanto. That leaves Merck as the only Big Pharma company that stands with BI in maintaining a commitment to animal health, with Mr de Szolnok saying his company is undeterred by the broader industry trend to separate animal health from human health. BI’s management team believes research breakthroughs in animal health can complement R&D on the human-health side and vice versa, he said.