Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (formerly Biovail) is Canada's largest publicly traded drugmaker. The multinational specialty pharmaceutical company specializes in developing, manufacturing, and marketing neurological and dermatological treatments, with a portfolio of branded prescription, branded generic, and OTC products. Products in its dermatology segment include genital herpes treatment Zovirax and acne treatment Acanya, while products in its neurology segment include antidepressant Wellbutrin XL. Valeant acquired Bausch + Lomb in 2013 to establish a strong presence in ophthalmology as well.
In addition to the core areas of central nervous system, dermatology, and ophthalmology, Valeant has prescription offerings for cardiovascular and metabolic ailments. Valeant also has a handful of off-patent branded drugs, which it continues to sell but does not actively promote. These drugs include Cardizem CD (a controlled-release version of Cardizem), anxiety drug Ativan, and hypertension medication Vasotec. In addition to branded drugs, Valeant makes generic formulations, some of them generic versions of its own brands (one strategy for lessening the impact when those drugs go off-patent).
Its acquisition of Bausch + Lomb significantly enhanced the company's eye care and ophthalmic offerings to include contact lenses, lens care solutions, vitamins and drops, and surgical equipment.
With manufacturing sites in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Poland, product sales are made around the world. The US market (including Puerto Rico) accounts for more than 55% of Valeant's annual revenues. The company has significant specialty and OTC medicine offerings in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as a growing presence selling branded, generic, and OTC offerings in portions of Latin America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and South Africa.
Sales and Marketing
Valeant sells its products through direct sales representatives in the US and Canada, as well as through marketing partnerships and distributors in the US and international markets. For instance, Valeant sells top-selling neurology drug Wellbutrin XL in the US, while GlaxoSmithKline sells the product in international markets. Customers include wholesale drug distributors, hospitals, physicians, and pharmacies. Valeant's marketing programs often include direct mailings, trade magazine ads, and event exhibits and sponsorships.
Valeant's strategy is to acquire, develop, and commercialize new products through partnerships especially in the areas of neurology and dermatology. Neurological products under development include medications for depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson's, and pain, as well as an epilepsy drug being researched through a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline. The company is looking to broaden its lineup especially as some of its older offerings, such as Wellbutrin XL (an extended-release version of GSK's antidepressant Wellbutrin) and Ultram ER (a long-acting version of J&J's chronic pain drug Ultram), face increasing levels of generic competition as their patents expire.
Valeant has made about 50 acquisitions of companies and assets since 2008. Its acquisition footprint is diverse, with several purchases in the US, Canada, Brazil, Russia, and Australia. The company tends to mix larger acquisitions with smaller ones in order to beef up its portfolio of treatments for central nervous system and skin diseases. However, the company has come under fire for buying companies and then hiking the prices of its newly acquired drugs. Valeant is the subject of investigations by a number of agencies including the SEC.
Facing criticism over its pricing practices and laden with some $31 billion in debt, the company has been trying to get back into the public's (and investors') good graces. In mid-2016 it announced plans to reorganize as well as a renewed focus on improving patients' lives; it will break into three primary business segments centered around its Bausch & Lomb operations, branded products, and other products such as its Obagi skin care treatments. Other recent moves include naming a new CEO and selling non-core assets including commercialization rights to angiodema drug Ruconest.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In terms of larger acquisitions, Valeant completed an $8.7 billion deal ($4.5 billion in cash and $4.2 billion in debt) to acquire Bausch + Lomb in 2013. The deal gives Valeant a leading position in the ophthalmology market and boosts its operations in the medical device industry. Valeant aims to leverage the brand in emerging markets; its existing eye care products and pharmaceuticals are being merged into the Bausch + Lomb division following the purchase.
The company significantly strengthened its position in dermatology when it acquired US-based Medicis Pharmaceutical for $2.6 billion in December 2012. The Medicis deal gives Valeant a formidable lineup of acne, aesthetic injectable, and antiviral products, and it builds upon prior acquisitions of Dermik and Ortho in 2011 to cement Valeant's position as a leader in US dermatology.
Valeant's aggressive acquisition strategy has brought some failures along with successes, including a $5.7 billion attempt to acquire fellow neurological drugmaker Cephalon in 2011 and two unsolicited offers ($314 million and $360 million) for ophthalmic therapies maker ISTA Pharmaceuticals.
One of Valeant's largest transactions occurred in 2010 when the company, then named Biovail, acquired the former Valeant Pharmaceuticals entity for some $3.3 billion. The combined entity took on the current Valeant name.
However, in 2015 Valeant completed its largest-yet deal when it bought US-based gastrointestinal specialist Salix in a $10.1 billion transaction. The acquisition combines Salix's franchise with Valeant's growing portfolio of specialty treatments and is expected to yield more than $500 million in cost savings annually. Later that year, the company struck a deal to acquire Sprout Pharmaceuticals for $1 billion. The deal was announced just a couple of days after Sprout was granted FDA approval for the first-ever women's libido drug Addyi.
Also in 2015, Valeant bought microsurgical equipment maker Synergetics USA in a move to grow its Bausch + Lomb operations.