Baxter International in talks to buy Swedish medical-equipment maker Gambro for $4 bn

US drug and medical-products maker Baxter International is in talks to buy Swedish medical-equipment maker Gambro for about $4 billion in order to expand its kidney dialysis business, The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The paper said the companies intend to finalise the deal within the next two to three weeks.

With a market cap of around $36 billion, Deerfield, Illinois-based Baxter is a leading manufacturer of recombinant and plasma-based proteins to treat haemophilia and other bleeding disorders; plasma-based therapies to treat immune deficiencies, alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, burns and shock, and other chronic and acute blood-related conditions, products for regenerative medicine, such as biosurgery products and vaccines.

It also provides renal home-based therapies, such as peritoneal dialysis, and offers other products and services for people with end-stage kidney disease.

Founded in 1964, and with annual sales of around $1.6 billion, Gambro was acquired by two Nordic private equity firms EQT and Investor AB in 2006 for $4.7 billion, who later sold its CaridianBCT unit to Japan's Terumo Corp for $2.6 billion and another unit that operated dialysis clinics.

Gambro is a developer, manufacturer and supplier of products and therapies for kidney and liver dialysis, myeloma kidney therapy, and other extracorporeal therapies for chronic and acute patients.

It has13 production facilities in 9 countries, and sales in more than 100 countries. Around 350,000 chronic renal disease patients are treated with Gambro products every year, or approximately one quarter of all dialysis patients worldwide.