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Sandoz buys Melville company for $1.5B

Fougera Pharmaceuticals, a Melville dermatology company that moved to Long Island in 1963, has been acquired by a German division of Novartis for $1.5 billion.

The buyer, Sandoz, paid cash for the company, which it acquired from several private equity funds managed by Nordic Capital, Credit Suisse and Avista Capital Partners.

Fougera, which produces a variety of topical creams and ointments, had $429 million in sales in the United States last year. The deal positions Sandoz as the world's top generic dermatology medicine manufacturer, the company said.

"This will significantly enhance the range of affordable, high-quality medicines that Sandoz can offer to patients . . . in the U.S. and around the world," said Sandoz's global head, Jeff George.

Fougera was founded in 1849 as a retail pharmacy in Brooklyn. It employs 700 people, including roughly 500 at offices in Melville and Hicksville.

Sandoz said it plans to base its global dermatology operations out of Fougera's Long Island offices.

A company spokesman said it was too early to say how, or if, the move would impact jobs here.