Sanofi has confirmed the acquisition of Indian nutraceuticals firm Universal Medicare.

The French drugmaker's Aventis Pharma unit is buying Universal which has 750 staff and the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Its turnover for the year ended March 2011 was around 1.1 billion rupees and though no financial details have been revealed, newspaper reports valued Universal at around 5 billion rupees (about $110 million).

Antoine Ortoli, head of the intercontinental region at Sanofi, noted that “India is one of our most important markets in the emerging world and this acquisition reinforces our commitment to invest and grow our presence. Universal Medicare’s portfolio of over 40 branded formulations includes antioxidants, vitamins and mineral supplements, anti-arthritics, anti-osteoporotics and liver tonics.

Universal chairman Vikram Tannan stated that “in today’s rapidly changing healthcare scenario, I believe that Aventis Pharma with its track record of building strong brands is best suited to take on and strengthen what we have built over the years".

The deal fits Sanofi's strategy of expanding in OTC and in emerging markets. A number of partnerships have been made in India of late and the company recently signed a Crohn's disease pact with Glenmark Pharmaceuticals.