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Valeant to buy Salix in $14.5 billion move

pharmafile | February 23, 2015 | News story | Sales and Marketing Deals, Heptares, Valeant, mergers, salix, sosei 

Valeant has agreed a deal to acquire US-based speciality manufacturer of gastrointestinal drugs Salix in a move worth around $14.5 billion.

The deal is the largest ever for Quebec-based Valeant. Last year it lost out in a takeover move on botox-manufacturer Allergan, which was eventually bought by Actavis in November 2014. But chief executive Michael Pearson was not to be swayed from the company’s strategy, and told Reuters last month that it would focus on buying smaller, private companies in 2015.

Valeant’s 2014 financial results showed the company earned $2.3 billion in revenue in quarter four, up 10% over the prior year, and a 43% increased to $8.3 billion in the full year.

North Carolina-based Salix is the leader in the growing US market for gastrointestinal drugs. It is best known for its irritable bowel syndrome drug Xifaxan (rifaximin), and is expecting to hit new regulatory milestones for Relistor Oral (methylnaltrexone) in 2015.

Pearson, who is also Valeant’s chairman, says: “Salix’s market-leading gastrointestinal franchise is an ideal strategic fit for Valeant’s diversified portfolio of speciality products. This acquisition offers a compelling opportunity for Valeant to create a strong platform for growth and business development.”

Thomas D’Alonzo, chairman and acting chief executive officer of Salix, adds: “Valeant is a logical partner and importantly, creates immediate value for our shareholders. Combining Salix’s leading market position in gastroenterology with Valeant’s scale and resources will create a stronger and more diverse business committed to providing better health solutions to health care providers and their patients.”

The two companies say they expect to close the transaction in the second quarter of 2015.

Sosei buys Heptares

Meanwhile in another acquisition move Japanese biopharma firm Sosei has announced it is to buy Heptares Therapeutics, a private UK-based biotech company, for $400 million.

Heptares has developed a unique drug design platform that it is using to develop pipeline drugs for clinical-stage research in Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, metabolic disease, schizophrenia and migraine.

Sosei has secured substantial revenue from milestone payments and royalties from two COPD products, Seebri Breezhaler (glycopyrronium bromide) and Ultibro Breezhaler (glycopyrronium bromide/indacaterol maleate), developed and marketed by its licensing partner Novartis.

It also has SO-1105, a Phase III product indicated for oropharyngeal candidiasis, and four early-stage products in development. In a statement the companies say “the combined entity expects continued strong growth driven by revenues from new clinical-stage alliances and platform partnerships”.

Lilian Anekwe

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