A union between two once-rival generics firms, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Ivax Corporation, has been given its blessing by the US Federal Trade Commission – clearing the way for the transaction to close on January 26, slightly ahead of schedule.

Teva and Ivax have agreed to divest specific formulations of 11 generic drugs, which brought in annual sales for the firms of $15 million. However, with third quarter revenues of $1.3 billion and $618 million at Teva and Ivax, respectively, this is a mere drop in the ocean for the merged firm, which leapfrogs into first place on the worldwide generics league tables over Novartis’ Sandoz.

Ivax must also end distribution deals it has with third party firms for some antibiotics, the prostate cancer drug leuprolide and the vitamin D treatment calcitriol.

This is the final hurdle for Teva and Ivax; they were given the green light in Europe last November and have now obtained all the regulatory approvals required to close the transaction. The combined company will have annual sales in the region of $7 billion and the merger is expected to become accretive to earnings during the first year.