Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., the drug maker that changed its name from ICN Pharmaceuticals last year, agreed to acquire Amarin Corp.'s U.S. operations for as much as $56 million to expand its line of neurology drugs.
The purchase would give Valeant the rights to the Parkinson's disease drug Permax and to Zelapar, another Parkinson's treatment being developed by Elan Corp. and Cardinal Health Inc.'s RP Scherer unit.
Chief Executive Robert O'Leary has been reorganizing Valeant to focus on developing medicines. The company's best-selling drug, the hepatitis treatment Rebetol, may face generic competition.
Valeant would pay $38 million upfront, the Costa Mesa-based company said. It would pay an additional $5 million when studies on Zelapar are completed and $3 million more if the drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Amarin had the option to acquire the U.S. rights to Zelapar and obtained the U.S. rights to Permax from Elan in 2001.
British-based Amarin said in December that it would be unable to continue as a "going concern" and wouldn't be able to fund Zelapar development unless it could sell some assets by March 31. The company would keep the rights to LAX-101, a treatment for Huntington's disease under development.
Shares of Valeant rose 25 cents to $22.53 on the New York Stock Exchange.