Nycomed is expanding its presence in Latin America and buying Laboratorios Farmacol, a Colombian pharmaceutical company with a strong presence in gastroenterology, respiratory disease and gynaecology.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and due to close in the second quarter. Financial details were not disclosed and the Swiss privately-held drugmaker noted that Farmacol is among the ten leading local Colombian pharmaceutical companies and has a "sizeable" marketing and sales organisation.

The Bogota-headquartered group, which is also privately-owned, has a production facility with a focus on liquids, solids, semi-solids and effervescent products. It has been GMP (good manufacturing practice)- audited and received all approvals from the Colombian authorities.

Norbert Oppitz, head of Latin American operations at Nycomed, said the deal demonstrates the importance of Latin America as a key region in the firm's emerging market strategy. He added that Farmacol will give Nycomed access to the high-growth (+14%) Colombian pharmaceutical market (Latin America's fifth largest) and "this strategic move will accelerate our expansion in the entire region".