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Salix boosts GI portfolio with $2.6bn deal for Santarus

Will reduce company’s reliance on diarrhoea treatment Xifaxan
Salix Pharma logo

Salix Pharmaceuticals has taken a leap towards reducing its reliance on diarrhoea treatment Xifaxan with a $2.6bn deal to buy fellow US pharma company Santarus.

Salix has been growing by acquisition over the last decade - with several other deals already under its belt - but the $32-per-share offer for Santarus is by far its biggest to date and brings together two fast-growing speciality pharma companies with an emphasis on gastrointestinal (GI) drugs.

The combined company will have combined revenues of around $1.3bn in 2013, with antibiotic Xifaxan (rifaximin) for traveller's diarrhoea - with sales up 24 per cent to $166m in the third quarter representing two thirds of Salix' current turnover - remaining the biggest brand.

Salix also brings a number of smaller GI products including Apriso (mesalamine) for ulcerative colitis (UC) and Relistor (methylnaltrexone bromide) for opioid-induced constipation, while Santarus provides recently-launched Uceris (budesonide) for UC and heartburn treatment Zegerid (omeprazole/sodium bicarbonate).

Arguably more significantly, buying Santarus also diversifies Salix beyond GI, with two drugs for diabetes - Glumetza (metformin) and Cycloset (bromocriptine mesylate) - and a Fenoglide (fenofibrate) for high cholesterol.

Salix' chief executive Carolyn Logan told investors yesterday that no product in the combined company's portfolio is expected to account for more than half total revenue, and also allows Salix to expand its GI disease expertise into the primary care market.

"There is no overlap in our marketed products or in-development products," she noted, adding: "The combined company offers a commercial profile of 22 marketed products."

The proposed transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, providing a significant contribution to earnings in the same year.

"We look forward to combining the assets of both companies in order to create a larger, even stronger company with greater scope and impact than either company could offer independently," she said.

Salix said it will pay for the deal with about $800m in cash and $1.95bn in financing from investment bank Jefferies.

Article by
Phil Taylor

8th November 2013

From: Sales

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