Baxter bags India's Claris to further beef up sterile injectables biz

Baxter International is buying Indian drugmaker Claris Lifesciences to further build its sterile injectables business.

Having reportedly been outmaneuvered in a move to buy one Indian maker of sterile injectable drugs, Baxter International has followed up with a deal for another. The Deerfield, Illinois-based specialist in sterile injectable drugs has an agreement to buy Claris Lifesciences for $625 million.

Baxter said the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, will add three manufacturing facilities, 11 drugs approved in the U.S. and a pipeline of other products. Claris is expected to have about $100 million in revenue this year. Baxter said the addition of the Indian drugmaker will allow the combined company to launch seven to nine new products a year in the short term and up to 15 products a year beyond 2019.

“The Claris injectables acquisition will expand Baxter’s presence in the fast growing, global generic injectable pharmaceuticals space and accelerate our growth trajectory with high-value, essential medicines that will benefit patients worldwide,” Baxter CEO Joe Almeida said in a statement.

A Baxter spokesperson said Monday that the company will be taking on Claris’ 1,200 employees when the deal closes and does not expecting any changes in Claris operations.

"Claris Injectables will be a foundation to grow Baxter’s generic injectables business, and therefore Baxter intends to invest in Claris Injectables’ capacity and capabilities and does not anticipate making major changes to its business model or operations," the spokesperson said.

Baxter makes both difficult-to-manufacture oncology drugs as well as a range of standard-dose products, like anti-infectives and analgesics, while Ahmedabad-base Claris makes anesthesias and analgesics, renal, anti-infectives and other products in a variety of presentations including bags, vials and ampoules. Baxter is working to boost its position in the global sterile injectables market, which it estimates at more than $40 billion and growing at a 10% compound annual growth rate.

Baxter was one of the companies that reportedly was bidding this year for India’s Gland Pharma, but Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group won that race with a $1.35 billion deal for an 86% stake in Gland.

But a lot of other drugmakers intend to snarf up more of the sterile injectables market as well. Pfizer established itself as the top player when it plunked down $15 billion last year to buy sterile injectable powerhouse Hospira.

But others are also growing. Germany’s Fresenius Kabi bought a nearly new sterile injectables plant in the U.S. and a small portfolio of drugs from Becton Dickinson and then also said it would invest $250 million to turn another U.S. site into a  showcase for its sterile injectable capabilities. Last summer, Japan’s Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical agreed to buy Schaumburg, IL-based Sagent for about $736 million.