Croatia’s Pliva is to boost its generics capabilities with the purchase of a Spanish generics unit from Novartis’ Sandoz. The subsidiary – Uso Racional – has been snapped up for 21.5 million euros ($25.6 million) and should eventually make a healthy return for Pliva, with sales of 12 million euros forecast this year. Over the last two years, Uso Racional has grown from a group of 23 people and 12 products to more than 50 collaborators and 25 products.

Yesterday the firm revealed that GlaxoSmithKline has been lined up to buy Pliva’s Research Institute for up to $50 million in cash – marking its strategic move away from branded pharmaceuticals towards the manufacture of copycat medicines. That deal, which is expected to close by the end of April, will see Pliva receive an upfront payment of $35 million and milestone payments totalling $15 million as early-stage drug development projects move into the clinic. It could also garner royalties on marketed medicines.

Last year, Pliva sold off Sanctura (trospium), an overactive bladder treatment - marking its exit from the proprietary drugs business - and said focusing on generics will make it much more competitive and boost its market position. Then, in August, it signed a deal with Canada's Legacy Pharma to sell the central nervous system unit of its branded drugs subsidiary, Odyssey Pharmaceuticals, for $62.5 million.