Gastro specialist Salix nabs Santarus and new colitis drug in $2.6B deal

Salix Pharmaceuticals ($SLXP), the gastrointestinal drug specialist, has snapped up fellow specialty drugmaker Santarus ($SNTS) in a $2.6 billion all-cash buyout.

The deal will add a clutch of Santarus products to Salix's gastrointestinal portfolio, including the newly approved ulcerative colitis treatment Uceris and the stomach acid-reducing combination pill Zegerid. But Santarus will also add some diversity to the mix, with two diabetes treatments and a cholesterol drug. Besides the marketed products, Santarus also brings a handful of in-development treatments for angioedema and traveler's diarrhea.

The $32-per-share deal will transform Salix "commercially and financially," CEO Carolyn Logan said in a statement, and it will add to earnings beginning in 2014. "We are very pleased to be able to merge our sales forces, combine two complementary product portfolios, expand our pipeline, diversify revenue, access healthcare providers in primary care ... and better position Salix for success in the present as well as the future."

The combined company will have 22 marketed products, including Salix's biggest seller Xifaxan, which brought in $469.8 million during the first 9 months of this year. Salix also sells the irritable bowel syndrome drug Relistor and the colonoscopy prep products Moviprep and Osmoprep.

- read the release from Salix

Special Report: Top Biopharma M&A Deals - 2012