Valeant snaps up Sanofi's Dermik for $425M

Sanofi ($SNY) has agreed to offload its Dermik skincare business to Valeant Pharmaceuticals ($VRX) in a $425 million deal that gives the Canadian drugmaker brands such as the acne treatment BenzaClin and wrinkle-filler Sculptra. It also allows Sanofi to focus more tightly on what CEO Christopher Viehbacher (photo) calls its "growth platforms." 

The cash deal brings to fruition Sanofi's previously announced intent to divest the dermatology business with operations concentrated mostly in North America. "This divestiture allows us to rationalize our portfolio and improve focus on our core businesses," Viehbacher said in a statement.

Despite the "focus-on-our-core" language in that announcement, the Dermik sale isn't a divestment á la Bristol-Myers Squibb, which has pared away its non-pharma units to focus solely on innovative meds, or even a Pfizer-esque spinoff designed to feed investors' desires while shedding a big chunk of peripheral business. Sanofi, along with rivals such as GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, remains in the diversification-is-good camp, with operations in animal health, consumer healthcare, generic drugs, et al, all intended to balance out the vagaries of today's prescription drug business.

For Valeant, the Dermik business is yet another to add to its quiver. Dermik has a manufacturing plant in Quebec, handy for the Canadian-based Valeant, and its dermatology drugs will help beef up the company's franchise in that area. While the other products are focused in North America, the aesthetic side of the business--a.k.a. Sculptra--has a global presence, giving Valeant a geographic footprint to build upon. "Dermik's assets, both in the medical and aesthetic therapeutic areas, provide us with exciting opportunities to leverage our combined portfolios in our current markets as well as options to expand Valeant's presence to other territories," CEO J. Michael Pearson said in a statement.

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