Valeant nabs generics maker PharmaSwiss for $481M

Valeant Pharmaceuticals has inked a €350 million deal for the Swiss generics maker PharmaSwiss. For $481 million, Valeant gets operations in 19 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, plus a portfolio of copycat meds in seven therapeutic areas. PharmaSwiss has been growing at a rapid clip these past five years, Valeant says, with 20 percent annual growth and 2010 revenues of €180 million (around $247 million).

It's just the latest of many generics buyouts, as drugmakers diversify into the fast-growing market for cheaper knock-off drugs. With more and more big branded drugs going off patent--and branded drugmakers consequently losing money to generic competition--building up a copycat-drugs business is one way to recapture eroded sales.

For now, PharmaSwiss will "work closely" with Valeant's existing European operations, with senior executives carrying on in their present jobs. Eventually, Valeant will likely combine the two businesses under the PharmaSwiss umbrella, consolidating its European operations in Zug, Switzerland. 

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