Johnson & Johnson says that it is in talks with the private equity branch of JPMorgan Chase & Co to sell the professional wound-care business of its Ethicon unit.

Ethicon recently conducted a competitive bidding process to prepare for the divestiture of the business, and says that as a result it has decided to grant exclusivity to One Equity Partners. Financial details of a possible deal have not been disclosed but it was noted that the aforementioned wound care business generated sales of approximately $270 million in 2007.

Under the terms of the offer, One Equity would acquire a portfolio, which contains such brands as Promogran Matrix wound dressing and Regranex (becaplermin) gel for lower extremity diabetic ulcers, as well as a portfolio of general wound care products. Also included in the transaction would be an R&D and manufacturing facility located in Gargrave, UK.

The acceptance period for the offer will end on August 22, and until then, Ethicon said it will consult with the relevant works councils and trade unions. The J&J unit claimed that an important element of the offer from One Equity “is recognition of the value of the operational and commercial expertise of the approximately 800 personnel that would be affected by the transaction”. Ethicon added that “substantially all” of the staff would be expected to transfer with the business.

J&J chairman Alex Gorsky said the decision to sell came as part of a continual review of its business priorities as J&J seeks to “optimise our strategic options”. He added that the offer from One Equity “offers exciting prospects for our employees, customers and patients”.

If the transaction takes place, it would be the second such deal in recent times where a private equity group has agreed to buy a wound care business. Last month, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced that it was selling ConvaTec to Avista Capital Partners and Nordic Capital for $4.1 billion.