Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis (NVS) may acquire U.S. generic-drug maker Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC in a deal that could be worth $8 billion. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that the two companies are in talks and may reach an agreement soon.

Large Generics Portfolio

Established in 2002, Bridgewater, New Jersey-based Amneal manufactures antiviral acyclovir for treating herpes, as well as gabapentin for epilepsy and pain. The privately held company has around 4,000 employees with operations in North America, Australia, Europe and Asia.

Amneal has a diversified product portfolio of generic drugs which includes 115 approved molecules in the U.S.

Deal Would Make Novartis a Generics Giant

Last month, Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez had hinted about possible acquisitions in cancer and generic treatments worth up to $5 billion.

The acquisition of a large generic drug company would catapult Novartis into top three in the U.S. generics market.

Amid speculation that Novartis may sell its shares in rival Roche, the Amneal acquisition would give Novartis a perfect opportunity to park the funds received from a potential Roche stake sale. (For more, see How Novartis Makes Money.)

Though the deal is not yet finalized, the acquisition is valued at $8 billion. Amneal is reportedly working with an adviser to explore options. Both companies declined to comment.

The generic drug business has faced tough times in the U.S. recently.

Amid major uproar over high drug prices, sources said the Department of Justice may file soon charges against several major generic drug manufacturers for alleged price collusion. (For more, see Drug Companies May Be Charged by DOJ.)

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