8. Buyer: Salix Pharmaceuticals
Target: Santarus
Price: $2.6 billion

Salix ($SLXP) is another drugmaker that is not a usual suspect for this list. It is a specialty pharma company and its specialty is gastrointestinal drugs. One of its products is one of only two botanicals--plant-derived drugs--approved by the FDA. It is also not very large. Its revenues last year were less than $1 billion, less than the milestone for a blockbuster. But with an M&A deal that qualifies as one of the top 10 of the year, it expects to be more diverse and at least a little larger.

The Raleigh, NC-based drugmaker offered up $2.6 billion to buy Santarus, also a specialty maker with a gastrointestinal portfolio. Its products include Uceris, approved last year for treating ulcerative colitis, as well as the stomach acid-reducing combination pill Zegerid. But Santarus also came with a few products that work on conditions outside the gastrointestinal tract. It has two oral treatments for Type 2 diabetes, Glumetza and Cycloset, and Fenoglide, used to lower high cholesterol, which it promotes to doctors who treat patients with Type 2 diabetes. Santarus also has a pipeline of a handful of treatments for angioedema and traveler's diarrhea.

Combined, the two companies had pro forma income of $1.348 billion last year, and they think with combined sales forces to market their drugs to each other's clients there is plenty more upside even this year.

For more:
Gastro specialist Salix nabs Santarus and new colitis drug in $2.6B deal
With FDA nod on Uceris, Santarus puts out 'help wanted' sign for sales reps
FDA approves 2nd botanical in 8 years, Fulyzaq from Salix
FDA 'sucker punches' Salix with Xifaxan denial

-- Eric Palmer (email | Twitter)


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