Spain’s Almirall eyes Valeant skin drugs to boost dermatology

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A woman waits for a bus outside Spanish pharmaceutical company Almirall's headquarters in central Barcelona

By Emma Pinedo

MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish drugmaker Almirall, which is building up its business in skin treatments, could be interested in acquiring dermatology assets from Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals, the head of the Barcelona-based company said on Monday. Valeant is looking at divesting various products as it tries to reduce its massive debt load, with new CEO Joe Papa open to selling a range of assets if the price is right.

Almirall Chief Executive Eduardo Sanchiz is leading a period of significant change at the company, following a shake-up of its drug portfolio, and building up the dermatology business further would fit with the Spanish group’s strategy. “We’re still in very initial stages but there are things that could interest us. We’re studying the situation but waiting for more information,” Sanchiz told Reuters.

Sanchiz said he was confident Almirall had the capacity to make another acquisition this year, whether of a single drug, a range of products or a whole company.

After selling its respiratory business to AstraZeneca two years ago, Almirall has shifted its main focus to dermatology. It acquired Poli Group in November for 365 million euros ($407 million) and Thermigen in January for $80 million. Both deals boosted its skin franchise, with Poli adding nail disorder products and Thermigen taking it into aesthetic dermatology. Industry analysts believe the Spanish group still has the financial firepower for further acquisitions. ($1 = 0.8977 euros)

(Writing by Ben Hirschler, editing by David Evans)

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