Zoetis Stock Is Up to Scratch

If you're seeking a stock to satisfy your investing itch, look no further.

The stock price for Zoetis (ZTS) opened on Friday near an all-time high for the company, $50.08 per share, and is up about 4% since April 15. The company, which has been a steady performer since going public in February 2013, produces medicines and vaccinations for animals.

And one of Zoetis's medicines in particular has investors paying attention. Apoquel, which relieves itching in dogs, hit the veterinary market at the beginning of 2014. Demand immediately went through the roof, and Zoetis took over a year to stabilize the supply of the new drug. Various pet owners have reported that the drug effectively stops canine itching within 24 hours of the first dosage.

The product surpassed $100 million in sales in 2015 and is expected by the company to exceed $300 million in peak sales. As long as dogs continue to scratch themselves, Apoquel should continue to be a strong seller. "Itchy skin diseases are the No. 1 reason dogs are brought to veterinarians," says Dr. Andrew Hillier, veterinary specialist at Zoetis. "It's essentially a 'forever disease.'"

The drug is FDA-approved and is available in the United States, EU countries, and other large pet markets such as Mexico and Brazil. Pet owners can acquire Apoquel only by prescription, which makes a visit to the vet necessary. However, that's increasingly a trip that pet owners are willing to take, despite prices that can often be steep. Nobody wants to see a pet in pain, especially when that pain requires the pets to be put into the isolating and embarrassing "cone of shame."

"We restore pets into family activities, into being a member of the family," Hillier says. "What makes us happy is restoring quality of life."

As pet owners across the world ensure that their animals' quality of life matches their own, Zoetis should continue to see strong sales for Apoquel and its other products, such as the anxiety-reducing Sileo. So a purchase of Zoetis shares may scratch just the right itch for investors.

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