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Galderma Said to Agree to Buy Q-Med to Gain Smoother

Galderma SA, the Swiss maker of Cetaphil skin creams, agreed to buy Sweden’s Q-Med AB to add products that smooth wrinkles and enhance breasts, according to a person with direct knowledge of the transaction.

An agreement has been signed and the deal may be announced as soon as this week, said the person, who declined to be identified because the negotiations were confidential. Q-Med, based in Uppsala, Sweden, has a market value of 6.58 billion kronor ($952 million). Galderma, founded in 1981, is owned by L’Oreal SA and Nestle SA.

The purchase would add to Galderma’s roster of cosmetic treatments. Q-Med’s Restylane injection competes with Allergan Inc.’s Botox wrinkle smoother. The Swedish company also makes Macrolane, a gel injected to give breasts volume.

Galderma’s Cetaphil product line includes cleansers, moisturizers and sunscreens for damaged or sensitive skin. The Lausanne, Switzerland-based company also markets Azzalure, a Botox competitor manufactured by Ipsen SA.

Q-Med founder and Chairman Bengt Aagerup, contacted by telephone yesterday, declined to comment. Annika Oehlin, Galderma’s Paris-based head of communications, declined to comment immediately when reached by phone.

Robin Tickle, a spokesman for Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle, didn’t return a voice mail and a text message left after business hours. Stephanie Carson-Parker, a spokeswoman at Paris-based L’Oreal, didn’t return a voice mail message or an e-mail.

Q-Med Shares

Q-Med shares have returned 40 percent this year including reinvested dividends, compared with a 23 percent return for the OMX Stockholm 30 Index. The stock rose 0.8 percent to close at 66.25 kronor on Dec. 10 in Stockholm.

Aagerup founded the company in 1987 to bring to market his research on hyaluronic acid, a chemical naturally present in the body that can be used for wound-healing, joint pain and to create volume under the skin.

Q-Med stabilized and patented a form of the acid, according to the company’s website. Its first product, Restylane, won approval in Europe in 1996 to fill out wrinkles and plump the lips. The company first sold shares on the Stockholm stock exchange in 1999.

Galderma would gain five products derived from hyaluronic acid including Restylane, which competes with its own Azzalure.

Azzalure, like Botox, is based on a purified form of the poison botulinum and works by freezing the facial muscles. Restylane, by contrast, creates a cushion under the skin that smoothes out the wrinkles.

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