Valeant Pharmaceuticals International has hit the acquisition trail again to buy OraPharma, a US firm that specialises in oral healthcare.

The Canadian drugmaker is paying $312 million upfront to acquire OraPharma, which is owned by the private-equity firm Water Street Healthcare Partners. The acquisition also includes up to $114 million in potential contingent payments based on certain milestones, including revenue targets.

OraPharma's lead product is Arestin (minocycline), an antibiotic for  periodontitis. The company had revenues for the year ended March of about  $95 million (growing in the high single digits) and "currently has the largest specialised pharmaceutical salesforce in the dental industry".

Valeant's chief executive Michael Pearson said that "we are excited to enter a new attractive market segment with an already established sales infrastructure focused entirely on the dental community". He added that "we believe that this market segment has similar characteristics to the dermatology, podiatry and ophthalmology markets and should offer us the opportunity to cross-sell some of our current products", most notably the firm's cold sore medication, Xerese (acyclovir/hydrocortisone).

Valeant has been acquiring companies and products at a rate of knots. Most recently. Last month, it bought certain assets from Swiss Herbal Remedies, a nutraceutical company that markets "a broad range of scientifically formulated vitamins, minerals and supplements". The price paid was "less than one times sales" which reached C$28 million last year.

Also last month, the Montreal-based firm acquired assets from University Medical Pharmaceuticals Corp, best-known for its AcneFree over-the-counter treatment, for $64 million, double last year's sales, plus potential milestones. In April, Valeant bought Pedinol Pharmacal, a US podiatry-focused privately-owned company for less than 1.5 times sales (revenue for 2011 was approximately $18 million).