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Almirall expands in US via $400m deal to buy Aqua

Will boost its standing in dermatology
Almirall

Spain's Almirall has signed an agreement to acquire US prescription dermatology company Aqua Pharmaceuticals from its private equity owner for around $400m.

Almirall said it would pay RoundTable Healthcare Partners just over $327m in the first stage of the acquisition, with another $75m in the offing in 2014 and 2015 if Aqua meets regulatory and commercial objectives.

Aqua was founded in 2004 as a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on acquiring, developing and marketing branded, prescription dermatology products, with a particular slant towards acne, steroid-responsive dermatoses, seborrheic dermatitis, actinic keratosis and atopic dermatitis.

It is expected to report turnover of $127m this year from five brands, including acne treatment Monodox (doxycycline monohydrate), Fluoroplex (fluorouracil) for actinic keratosis and Xolegel (ketoconazole) for seborrheic dermatitis.

The dermatology drug market is predicted to reach around $24bn in 2015, according to data recently published by Visiongain, with steady growth between 2013 and 2023 on the back of new product launches and reformulations of existing treatments.

In a statement Almirall noted that "dermatology is a key platform of growth and continues to be a key future growth driver".

Almirall has just announced a restructuring drive in Europe - with the loss of around 350 jobs - to cut costs and maintain profitability in the face of austerity measures implemented across the region.

The Spanish firm reported sales of €611m in the first nine months of the year, down 13.5 per cent, with net income plunging 76 per cent to a little under €22m on the back of high roll-out costs for new products such as Sativex (nabiximols) for spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) treatment Eklira (aclidinium bromide).

The acquisition of Aqua immediately gives the company a greater presence outside the challenging European operating environment.

The Spanish firm's chief executive Eduardo Sanchiz said the deal "gives us access to the largest dermatology market globally, promises to provide the potential in the future to leverage our own products in the US and benefits future profitability."

The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings, said Almirall, which will fund the deal with debt.

Article by
Phil Taylor

18th December 2013

From: Sales

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