Business briefs: Actavis, Bayer, Oramed, Elan

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The third-largest generics maker, Actavis, is becoming the third-largest specialty drug company in the US: Actavis announced Monday that it is buying Warner-Chilcott in an all-stock deal worth about $8.5 billion. The companies said in their respective statements that expectations are that the two companies will yield $11 billion in annual revenue. The merger should be complete by the end of 2013, and the new company will have its headquarters in Ireland. The deal will give Warner-Chilcott shareholders about 23% of the newly merged company, reports the Associated Press. The news is part of overall chatter regarding Actavis, which has included it being considered a potential acquisition for companies including Mylan and Valeant. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Novartis also wanted in, but the drug maker said it was not the case.

Bayer has scooped up private herbal remedy company Steigerwald, filling out the consumer portfolio which currently accounts for 20% of  Bayer's revenues, reports PM Live, which also notes the company has said its goal is to have OTC sales hit $10.3 billion for the year, and $11.6 billion by 2015. The deal's timing is spot-on according to data by research firm Mintel, which puts the homeopathic/herbal remedy market at $7.5 billion by 2017. According to Mintel, US sales of herbal remedies have grown 16% over the past five years. In-house analyst Emily Krol explained the categories appeal in a statement as being partly being fed by OTC supply-chain concerns, and said families with small children are suspect of traditional drugstore remedies.

Oramed's experimental oral insulin capsule, ORMD-0801, is ready to start clinical trials, having won FDA clearance for testing Friday. The treatment is for patients with early Type 2 diabetes, with the goal of slowing down the disease, by providing additional insulin and easing pancreatic stress.

Elan's fight against a King Pharmaceuticals takeover continues. The company has swallowed AOP Orphan for $340 million, its second acquisition in a month, reports Bloomberg, which says Elan's CEO is set to roll out additional acquisitions over the next 18 months. The company also invested $1 billion in Theravance, securing itself a share of royalties. Theravance, along with GSK, scored FDA approval of its COPD Breo/Ellipta medication this month.

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