Novo A/S, the holding company of Denmark's Novo Nordisk, has acquired Xellia Pharmaceuticals of Norway in a deal valued at $700 million.

Xellia was spun-out from Alpharma in 2008 and was principally owned by UK equity group 3i. It specialises on anti-infective products for multi-drug resistant infections and is "a world-leading supplier of vancomycin and colistimethate sodium".

The company's products are all manufactured using fermentation-based biological processes, (an approach similar to that of Novo Nordisk), at facilities located in Denmark, Norway, Hungary and China. It will now revert to Danish ownership with headquarters in Copenhagen.

Novo is responsible for the management of the assets of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, which are currently valued at more than $30 billion. Chief executive Henrik Gurtler said that Xellia "strongly complements our portfolio of significant life science companies in which we have major investments" and is one of the largest investments made to date. He added that Xellia is a company "with a long Scandinavian heritage, which we are proud to bring back into long-term Danish ownership".

Carl-Ake Carlsson, Xellia's CEO, said that "we have successfully transitioned the business in order to become a world leader in the supply of certain anti-infective products". Now, "as we focus on the future and the further development of the business, including the launch of our novel antibiotics pipeline", he claimed that the firm will benefit from Novo's expertise in the life science sector.