Altana Inc, the USA-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of German drugmaker Altana Pharma AG, has bought UK drug giant GlaxoSmithKline’s prescription dermatology products for an undisclosed amount.

PharmaDerm, a unit of the company, will produce and sell the newly-acquired branded generics, which include: the synthetic corticosteroid Aclovate (alclometasone dipropionate), the anti-inflammatory agents Cutivate (fluticasone propionate) and Temovate (clobetasol propionate; the antibiotic Emgel (erythromycin); and Oxistat (oxiconazole nitrate), an anti-fungal.

GlaxoSmithKline received US Food and Drug Administration approval for Cutivate Lotion earlier this year. The product is still waiting an official launch, and Malcolm McCoy, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at PharmaDerm, believes that the agent will add a valuable asset to the group’s product portfolio. "We will move forward with plans to launch Cutivate Lotion this fall and are especially excited about offering dermatologists an effective, mid-potency steroid for their adult and paediatric patients," he stated.

He went on to claim that the addition of the new product lines to PharmaDerm’s portfolio will allow it to “significantly enhance our existing sales and marketing capability and to broaden our offering to the dermatology marketplace." Revenues from these drugs should certainly add significant ballast to the division’s sales, pulling in around $25 million last year.

Commenting on Altana Inc’s reasoning behind the move, chief executive, Paul McGarty, noted that the transaction “represents a key acquisition on the branded side of our business and supports the Altana Inc specialty business. It is a significant step in the formation of PharmaDerm and toward achieving our goal of becoming the leading pharmaceutical company specializing in dermatology.” The move marks part of GlaxoSmithKline’s plans to hone the focus of its consumer healthcare division on key strategic areas, including over-the-counter medicines.