Dendreon's Provenge cancer vaccine
Canada's Valeant has agreed to sell off assets in two deals worth $2.1bn as it works to pay down high levels of debt.
The company - which has seen its share price pummelled in the wake of investigations into its drug pricing and accounting practices in recent months - is selling three skincare brands to French cosmetics giant L'Oreal for $1.3bn and the Dendreon cancer vaccine business to China's Sanpower Group for around $820m.
The sell-off is part of the company's plan to retreat from an acquisition-fuelled expansion of the last few years that has left it with debts of some $30bn, and rebuild its corporate reputation after top executives - including ex-CEO Michael Pearson and former CFO Howard Schiller - came under investigation following allegations of fraud.
Valeant had also been trying to sell its Salix gastrointestinal drugs unit to Japan's Takeda for towards the end of last year, but those negotiations broke down and Takeda has just announced a $5.2bn deal to buy US cancer specialist Ariad.
The L'Oreal deal involves the CeraVe, AcneFree and Ambi brands, with the French company paying right times their combined annual revenues of $168m. All three brands are expected to benefit from being sold through L'Oreal's cosmetics sales channels.
Meanwhile, the Dendreon deal comes two years after Valeant paid around $300m for the business, which sells Provenge, an autologous cellular immunotherapy for prostate cancer treatment that was approved by the FDA in 2010.
"Valeant will use the proceeds from the sale(s) to permanently repay term loan debt," said the company's chief executive Joseph Papa, who added that the divestiture programme will "simplify our business and strengthen our balance sheet." Other sell-offs are also being considered, according to Papa.
Valeant indicated that the Sanpower transaction is expected to close in the first half of this year, while the sale to L'Oreal should come to fruition in the first quarter.