Teva, Perrigo and Sun join list of suitors checking out Bayer's $1.1B derm unit

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Bayer is looking to sell off its dermatology unit to help drum up cash for its $66 billion Monsanto buy--and rumor has it, it’s got plenty of takers.

In addition to skincare-focused drugmakers Allergan, Almirall and Nestle, companies including Teva, Perrigo and Sun Pharma are also in the mix, Bloomberg reports. And that’s just on the pharma side. Firms including KKR, Nordic Capital, Bain Capital, Blackstone Group and Cinven may also check out the business, the news service notes.

Talks are still in the early stages, with initial offers due in the coming weeks. But industry watchers say Bayer--which is working with JPMorgan on the sale--could grab more than $1.1 billion with a transaction.

Teva, for one, has been clear that it’s looking for branded buys ever since it last month closed its $40 billion-plus deal for Allergan’s generics unit, and Bayer’s portfolio fits that bill. But CEO Erez Vigodman has in the past stressed that his company would be looking for assets that fit in with the therapeutic areas it’s already tackling--such as pain, neurodegenerative and respiratory.

Perrigo, for its part, is under pressure from activists to slim down rather than bulk up. Last week, new shareholder Starboard Value lobbied for a focus on Perrigo’s core OTC business--a strategy that would see it sell off generics assets and royalty interest in multiple sclerosis med Tysabri. It’s reportedly already working on the latter sale, with analysts labeling Royalty Pharma as a likely purchaser.

On the other side of the coin, Allergan, which boasts blockbuster Botox, has long been devoted to dermatology, and Almirall’s chief exec said earlier this summer that he was eyeing some of Valeant’s castoffs. Nestle did just that a couple years back, nabbing skincare products from the Canadian drugmaker to diversify beyond its core food business.

Meanwhile, Bayer’s new CEO, Werner Baumann, is working to convince critics of the Monsanto deal that the tie-up won’t hurt the drugmaker’s pharma ambitions. Tuesday, the company outlined a new €10 billion sales target for its top 5 new launches and touted pipeline prospects with combined sales potential of at least €6 billion.

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