Valeant Pharmaceuticals International has agreed to acquire fellow Canadian firm Afexa Life Sciences for C$76 million in cash, a figure that comfortably tops an offer made by another company based in Canada, Paladin Labs.

Over the summer, Paladin, which owns almost 15% of Afexa, had offered C$0.55 per share for the stock it did not already own. This valued the latter firm, which is best-known for Cold-FX, Canada's leading over-the-counter cold and flu remedy, at around C$56.7 million.

Last week Afexa chairman William White said the Paladin offer is "inadequate even to reflect the value of our marquee product [Cold-Fx] and gives little to no value of our growth opportunities through new products and new markets". However the Valeant bid has been accepted unanimously by the board.

As part of the agreement, Afexa, which is based in Edmonton, has a 30 days 'go-shop' period to a find a better offer. Valeant has rights to match any bid that materialises or be paid a $3.75-million termination fee if Afexa chooses another proposal.

Valeant seems to have set up home on the acquisition trail of late. It has been rumoured to be planning bids for Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp and Sweden's Meda and in July, it paid $345 million for Johnson & Johnson's Ortho Dermatologics and bought Sanofi's Dermik skincare business for $425 million.