German food giants Bayer and Procter & Gamble have agreed to buy the rights to an ancient German dog food.
The purchase is a move that could be a boon to the German animal industry, which is struggling to gain credibility as it struggles with the popularity of Beneful, the anti-viral drug.
The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2019.
The companies will continue to produce Beneful-based dog foods.
The new company will be called Beneful Food Products AG, a merger of the brands Procters & Gamble and Bayer, and will focus on the animal-based ingredients, according to the terms of the agreement, which was released Friday.
It was reported in October that Bayer had agreed to pay $20 million for the rights, though Bayer declined to say when the deal was completed.
The Beneful controversy was sparked by the revelation that the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Beneful for use as a treatment for hepatitis C in 2009.
In 2014, the FDA confirmed that Beneful was the first animal-derived drug approved by the agency.
The drug has been widely used in Europe and is now widely available in Canada, the United States and elsewhere.
But the British government has said that Benful, which the company is now trying to make legal, is a danger to people, pets and wildlife.
In a recent letter, Health Minister Jane Ellison wrote that she had warned Bayer about the dangers of Benful.
“We have also asked that you ensure that any new Beneful product is approved for use in Britain in accordance with the relevant regulations,” she wrote in the letter.
Bayer and P&G have also agreed to “support regulatory actions that may be necessary to protect public health and the environment,” according to Bayer’s announcement.
The British government said in a statement Friday that it was committed to “diluting the negative impact of Benishon on the environment and wildlife” and that it will continue working with Bayer and other parties to “address this problem.”
“The government will continue its efforts to tackle the spread of this toxic substance through the supply chain and through the wider food supply chain,” it said.
“It is clear that the industry is taking a leadership role and is working closely with the government and industry to ensure that the UK food industry has the best possible access to this new drug, and we are confident that we can work together to make sure it is available to the British public.”