(Bloomberg) -- Novo Holdings A/S, the controlling shareholder of Novo Nordisk A/S, is exploring a sale of its specialty drugmaker Xellia Pharmaceuticals, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Novo, the investing arm of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, is working with advisers on a potential sale, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. The business could fetch at least $1 billion based on industry multiples of its earnings, the people said.

The deliberations are ongoing and the company could opt not to pursue a sale, the people said.

Copenhagen-based Xellia develops and manufactures treatments to combat bacterial and fungal infections. It generates about $100 million in annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, one of the people said. 

A representative for Xellia in the U.S. directed inquiries to the Danish office. Representatives for Xellia and Novo in Denmark didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment outside of regular business hours there.

Novo bought Xellia for about $700 million from 3i Group and other shareholders in 2013. Novo had $75 billion of investment assets as of March, according to a fact sheet on its website. 

Xellia, which is wholly owned by Novo, has manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Denmark, Hungary and China, as well as research and development sites in Norway and Croatia. It employs more than 1,800 people, according to a press release.

The company says its goal is to provide anti-infective solutions that combat micro-organisms that are resistant to multiple drugs. It supplies antibiotics including vancomycin and colistimethate sodium.

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