Stiefel Laboratories, which says it is the world's largest independent pharmaceutical company specialising in dermatology, has entered into an agreement to buy fellow US firm Barrier Therapeutics in a cash deal valued at $148 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Stiefel will make a tender offer for all of Barrier's outstanding shares for $4.15 per share, which represents a 73% premium on the company's average closing price over the last 30 days. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.

The purchaser's chief executive, Charles Stiefel, said "we are very impressed with Barrier's products and unique pipeline of clinical candidates". He added that they will "significantly enhance" his firm's therapeutic product portfolio and pipeline "for major disease categories across the field of dermatology".

Barrier markets three products in the USA – Xolegel (ketoconazole) for seborrheic dermatitis, the antifungal Vusion (miconazole) and Solage (mequinol/tretinoin) Topical Solution, for solar lentigines. It is currently developing rambazole, a novel retinoic acid metabolism-blocking agent for psoriasis and acne.