Perrigo nails down dermatology spot with $45M deal

Perrigo ($PRGO) has further solidified its position in topical dermatology drugs, one of the areas in which prices have been escalating of late.

The Michigan-based company has paid $45 million cash to buy the 81.5% of Cobrek Pharmaceuticals it didn't already own. Perrigo in 2008 bought an 18.5% share of the privately held Cobrek, gaining rights to its skin products.

"We continue to market the only generic foam products in the U.S. and expect to launch two additional products--generic versions of Luxiq (betamethasone valerate) Foam and Olux-E (clobetasol propionate) Foam 0.05%--during this fiscal year, which is a testament to the challenges of this dosage form and success of our partnership with Cobrek," Perrigo CEO Joseph C. Papa said.

This is the third deal this year in which an ointment maker has been snapped up in a market that has seen some significant price increases. Most generic ointments and creams are made by Perrigo, Taro Pharmaceutical Industries ($TARO) and Fougera. India's Sun Pharmaceutical Industries agreed in August to buy out Taro for $600 million, while Novartis ($NVS) this year bought Fougera for $1.53 billion, primarily to get its hands on Fougera's skin products. Pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts in August told The New York Times that spending on dermatology drugs had risen more than 18% through May of this year, mostly because of higher prices for individual drugs.

Dermatology drugs are not the only area in which Perrigo is growing, however. It is the largest manufacturer of private-label OTC drugs, producing 45 billion tablets a year, and it is the second-fastest-growing generics drugmaker, according to FiercePharma rankings. In September, it moved into animal products with a $285 million deal to buy privately held Sergeant's Pet Care Products.

- here's the release

Special Report: Perrigo - Top 11 Fastest-Growing Generics Companies