Baxter International is shelling out $900 million on Sigma-Tau’s Oncaspar (pegaspargase) product portfolio, in a move designed to strengthen its commercial foothold in the global oncology market.

Oncaspar is a first-line biologic used as part of a multi-agent chemotherapy regimen to treat the blood cancer acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), currently pulling in sales of around $100 million a year.

The terms see Baxter gain access to the drug, as well as the investigational biologic calaspargase pegol, which is also being developed for ALL, and an established oncology infrastructure with clinical and sales resources. 

The transaction shoud close in the third quarter, at which point the drugs will come under the reign of Baxter’s biopharmaceuticals segment, expected to be spun out as Baxalta Incorporated by mid-year.