Midland veterinary medicines company Dechra Parmaceuticals is planning £20.5 million entry into the American market.

Chief executive Ian Page said he expected the authorities in the US to grant a licence to sell its dog treatment product Vetoryl by 2007/08.

He said: "It's a case of when they grant the licence, not if they grant the licence and when that happens, it will be huge for us."

He was aiming for annual sales around three years after launch to stand at $30 million.

The drug is used in greatly extending the lives of dogs suffering from Cushings Dis-ease, a fatal disorder which effects endocrine glands.

Mr Page said the treatment had already been authorised in the EU.

The company is also seeking a licence in the US for a product called Felimazole which is used in the treatment of thyroid problems in cats.

Mr Page said in America it is legal to use human equivalent drugs in veterinary treatments.

The market which the company would attack with Felimazole was valued at £8.58 million in sales.

The company's Stoke-onTrent head office and distribution centre employs 445 people, and 65 people carry out pharmaceutical work in in Shrewsbury.

Both centres were performing well.

Mr Page spoke out as Dechra said yesterday its first half pretax profit rose nine per cent on an 11 per cent increase in sales.

That was led by solid progress across all businesses.

Mr Page said: "Market penetration of our veterinary pharmaceutical portfolio into new and existing markets is increasing."