a women getting a needle put in her head for face aesthetics

The facial injectable market has always been a mess of manufacturing and distribution agreements. You can make a whole Excel file just trying to keep track of who manufactures what and who distributes for who. This isn’t helped by the fact that companies in this market are acquiring each other, getting acquired, and trading distribution rights at breakneck speeds. And although the top three facial injectable companies―Allergan, Galderma, and Merz Pharma―have held their spots, this has resulted in a very different looking competitive landscape today compared to a few years ago.

Most notably, a few years ago, Valeant Pharmaceuticals jumped right into the deep end of the facial injectable market and has now hopped right back out again. In 2011 and 2012, Valeant Pharmaceuticals acquired Dermik Laboratories from Sanofi as well as Medicis, giving the company a full suite of facial injectable products in one sweep. Dermik Laboratories manufactured Sculptra, a well-known non-HA filler, while Medicis had a North American distribution agreement to sell Ipsen’s Dysport (a primary competitor to Allergan’s Botox) and Galderma’s Restylane and other HA fillers. Without a prior presence in the facial injectable market, Valeant Pharmaceuticals suddenly had a wider product portfolio than most other companies in this space.

However, fast forward a few years, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals is basically fully removed from this market. Valeant Pharmaceuticals returned the North American distribution rights to Restylane and the other HA fillers to Galderma in 2014, and also passed off the rights to Sculptra while it was at it. Galderma also gained back the right to Ipsen’s Dysport in North America through this transaction. Galderma, which itself only gained Restylane and the other HA fillers through its 2011 acquisition of Q-Med, is now holding a significantly stronger position in the market.

Merz Pharma also made a move to consolidate its facial injectable portfolio when it acquired Anteis in 2013. Although Merz Pharma had had a successful distribution agreement with Anteis in certain countries prior to the acquisition, Merz Pharma can now sell Anteis’ successful HA fillers worldwide.

Although Allergan, the uncontested ruler of the facial injectable market, hasn’t been involved in trading rights to products or acquiring other facial injectable companies, it has arguably had an even more hectic last few years after it fended off a hostile takeover, found a white knight acquirer, and in just 8 short months is undergoing merger talks again (with pharma giant Pfizer, no less).

Overall, these moves have resulted in a facial injectable market that looks a lot more top heavy than it did a few years ago. And I don’t expect we’ve seen the end of it—the relatively fast growth and strong potential of the facial injectable market continues to make it attractive for new market entrants.

Interested in the facial injectable space? DRG thought leaders Sana Siddiqui and April Lee will be at IMCAS next week discussing global aesthetic trends.

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