Novartis has moved a step closer to achieving its goal of becoming the top dog in the generic drug industry with the completion of its acquisition of Germany’s Hexal [[21/02/05b]].

The announcement comes one week after the European Commission gave its blessing to the deal [[31/05/05c]], but Novartis is still awaiting clearance from the US regulators for the acquisition of Eon Labs, which is also included in this deal. The Federal Trade Commission has asked the firm for additional information on this latter purchase, which Novartis says is not unusual in a transaction of this size and nature in the pharmaceutical industry [[11/04/05c]]. The tender process to acquire Eon Labs’ publicly held shares began last month – it is set at $31 per share, is scheduled to expire on June 20, and is subject to completion of the regulatory process and the contemporaneous purchase of a 67.7% stake in Eon Labs from its control shareholder.

Novartis’ Sandoz business is already one of the world’s leading generics firms and the Swiss giant has been in the process of enhancing its capabilities for several years. Back in 2002, it bought Slovenian company, Lek [[22/11/02e]], which was followed by last year’s 565 million purchase of Canadian rival, Sabex [[07/06/04a]].