Acquisition is expected to make Sandoz the world’s biggest dermatology generics player.

Novartis is buying specialty dermatology generics firm Fougera Pharmaceuticals for $1.525 billion in cash. The Swiss drug giant says adding Fougera to its Sandoz generics business will transform the latter into the world’s biggest generic dermatology medicines operation, with estimated annual global sales approaching $620 million.

“The addition of Fougera’s leading portfolio further strengthens Sandoz’ differentiated products strategy,” comments Jeff George, global head of Sandoz. “Fougera brings us valuable technical capabilities in the area of topical dermatology products, particularly in the development and manufacturing of semisolid forms such as creams and ointments.”

Fougera was previously part of Nycomed but has operated on a standalone basis since the sale of Nycomed to Takeda Pharmaceuticals in 2011. The firm made net sales of $429 million in 2011 and employs about 700 people across its two primary sites in New York. In addition to its U.S. dermatology generics business, the firm operates a branded specialty dermatology pharma business, PharmaDerm, with in-house expertise and facilities for formulation development, clinical development, manufacturing, distribution, and sales and marketing.

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