Gedeon Richter has acquired privately-held Swiss biopharmaceutical group PregLem Holding in a deal valued at around 337 million euros, expanding the Hungarian drugmaker's female healthcare franchise.

Under the terms of the deal, PregLem's backers will pocket 150 million Swiss francs, or about 114 million euros, plus further milestones of 295 million francs (223 million euros). It has five products in clinical and preclinical development, headed by Esmya, which completed Phase III trials in June for the treatment of uterine myoma, a common benign tumour in women of reproductive age. A European filing is planned in the fourth quarter.

Richter says it will also invest at least 100 million francs into PregLem in 2011-2013 to assist the commercial development of the portfolio. It added that the Geneva-based company "represents a unique opportunity" for Richter to broaden its "specialty pharma nature" whilst at the same time complementing its existing women’s health expertise and product range".

The acquisition "will develop Richter’s presence in main European markets", while its salesforce will sell PregLem’s products in central and eastern Europe, plus the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Erik Bogsch, managing director of Richter, said PregLem "represents an outstanding strategic opportunity". The company is retaining PregLem's management team which is made up of people who have "extensive experience in women’s reproductive medicine".

Ernest Loumaye, PregLem's chief executive, said that in three years, the firm has developed "an innovative pipeline of drugs for the treatment of benign gynaecological conditions". He added that the deal will help PregLem build a commercial organisation in selected European countries.

Commenting on the takeover, Gergely Varkonyi, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, told Reuters that the deal diversifies Richter's product structure towards innovative products. However he noted that "for now, hardly anything is known either about these molecules, or the financial performance of the company Richter has acquired".