Firm will use $1.5bn proceeds to reduce debt and concentrate on developing new drugs in neurology and immunology

Belgian drugmaker UCB has agreed to sell its speciality generics subsidiary, Kremers Urban, to private equity firms Advent International and Avista Capital Partners for $1.5 billion (£970 million). The company says it will use the cash from the sale to pay off some debt and concentrate on its ‘core business’ in neurology and immunology drugs.

UCB bought Kremers Urban in 2007, and the subsidiary’s line in hard-to-formulate generics such as timed or extended release versions of statins and pain medications has supported the company through the financial crisis. ‘It’s now the right time from a value perspective to focus on our core business and to offer Kremers Urban further growth opportunities with [Advent and Avista],’ said UCB’s chief financial officer Detlef Thielgen in a statement.