LAVAL, Que. - Bausch Health Companies Inc. is looking to make its first acquisition in more than three years after focusing efforts on reducing its debt and dealing with highly damaging legacy issues.

The Quebec-based pharmaceutical company formerly called Valeant Inc., says it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire certain assets of Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a transaction valued at about $200 million plus certain assumed liabilities.

Synergy, a maker of gastrointestinal therapies, filed for bankruptcy Wednesday under Chapter 11.

Bausch Health will serve as the “stalking horse” bidder in a court-supervised auction and sale process.

Bausch says the acquisition will enhance its Salix Pharmaceuticals business since Synergy's Trulance product would be “a natural complement” to Xifaxan and its sales footprint.

The Synergy acquisition would be the first for Bausch since Valeant purchased Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the maker of a female sexual dysfunction drug, for about US$1 billion, before selling it for next to nothing a couple of years later.