Cardinal Health Inc. of Dublin Ohio will acquire Raleigh-based contract-drug-development company Magellan Laboratories in a stock transaction of undisclosed value.

(In other news, Quintiles Transnational announced it was forming a joint venture with McKesson Corp. with targeted first-year sales of $100 million. And Salix Pharmaceuticals of Raleigh says its recent stock sale netted the company more than $54 million. Details below.)

Eric Hoffman, Magellan’s director of business development, says the deal means Magellan will accelerate its plans to hire 100 new researchers in the Triangle this year. Hoffman says the company is seeking primarily scientists from entry level to PhDs with drug development experience.

The company will be known as the Magellan Pharmaceutical Development Services division of Cardinal. Magellan, which also has offices in San Diego, will now also manage facilities in New Mexico and New Jersey.

W. Lowry Caudill, Magellan’s president of pharmaceutical development and co-founder, says the combined companies will be “better able to capitalize on industry demand for our services.”

Alfred Childers, Magellan president of administration and also a co-founder, sees advantages as well. “Together our operations can provide a full spectrum of services,” he says, “from pre-clinical to commercial manufacturing.

“We assist pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms in overcoming internal resource constraints.”

Hoffman says that while the company could be considered a contract research organization, this merger “creates a whole new category: pharmaceutical development organization.”

Magellan previously did everything except Phase III and Phase IV drug manufacturing. Cardinal on the other hand, is strong in those areas.

“Now we can take drug development from beginning to end,” says Hoffman. “There’s no duplicity of services. We had a lot of suitors. The deal with Cardinal is a classic case of the whole becoming greater than the parts.”

Magellan’s clients include more than 200 pharmaceutical and biotech companies, including nine of the top ten drug makers. It has more than 500 employees, including more than 80 with doctorates in analytical and synthetic chemistry and pharmaceutical research.

George L. Fotiades, President and COO, Cardinal Health pharmaceutical technologies and services, says the merger “positions Cardinal Health as the most comprehensive product development service provider to the pharmaceutical industry.” He said the deal enhances Cardinal’s offerings by adding more value earlier in the drug development cycle.

Cardinal Health companies develop, manufacture, package and market products for patient care; develop drug-delivery technologies; distribute pharmaceuticals, medical- surgical and laboratory supplies; and offer consulting and other services. It has 49,000 employees on five continents with annual revenues of $40 billion.

Cardinal Health stock traded at S69.75, up 69 cents midday Monday. It has a 52-week high of $77.32 and a low of $56.66.

Quintiles joint venture focuses on healthcare information

Quintiles,which is based in Research Triangle Park, and McKesson Corporation, out of San Francisco, say they are forming a joint venture that will focus on healthcare information. The companies say they project first-year revenues of $100 million.

Greg Porter, chief executive officer of Quintiles Informatics, will be the CEO of the new unit once the merger is complete, the companies say.

The two companies will license data products already produced by Quintiles (Nasdaq: QTRN) and McKesson (NYSE: MCK) to the new unit. The deal is expected to close before the end of the second quarter, the companies add.

Salix nets $57.4 million from stock sale

Salix Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:SLXP) says it will net $57.4 million from its recent public offering of six million shares.

Underwriters of the Salix stock sale exercised over allotments to sell 600,000 additional shares in its recent public offering, bringing the total sold to 4,600,000 shares. It now has a total of 16,685,000 shares outstanding.

Total gross proceeds of the transaction were more than $60 million.

In a statement issued today, Salix says that the addition of these funds brings the company’s cash, cash equivalents and investments to over $80 million.

On Feb. 26, Salix announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration accepted its new drug application for its second product: the riflaximin treatment for traveler’s diarrhea to be marketed as LUMENAX.

Salix develops and markets prescription drugs for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. The company identifies and acquires rights to products it believes have potential for rapid regulatory approval, then applies its 60-person sales force to sell those products.

Its first product was Colazal, an anti-inflammatory drug marketed for treatment of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis, which it launched in January last year.

UBS Warburg LLC and Wachovia Securities served as the joint book-running managers of the offering. Thomas Weisel Partners LLC, Leerink Swann & Company and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey acted as the co-managers.

Salix stock traded at $16.15 midmorning Monday, up 36 cents or over two percent. It has a 52-week high of $16.43 and a low of $15.83 in the same period.