Valeant to sell Dendreon unit to China's Sanpower for $820 million

A sign for the headquarters of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc is seen in Laval, Quebec June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo

(Reuters) - Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO said its affiliate will sell its Dendreon cancer business to China's Sanpower Group Co Ltd [SPGCL.UL] for $819.9 million, as the drugmaker continues to shed its non-core assets to repay debt.

Dendreon makes prostate cancer vaccine Provenge that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010.

“With this sale, we are better aligning our product portfolio with Valeant’s new operating strategy by exiting the urological oncology business, which is one of our non-core assets,” Valeant Chief Executive Joseph Papa said in a statement on Monday.

The company bought bankrupt Dendreon in 2015 for about $300 million after reaching a stalking-horse deal for Provenge and other assets.

Seattle-based Dendreon filed for bankruptcy protection after sales of Provenge fell short of expectations and left the company deep in debt.

Valeant is trying to regain investor confidence following a tumultuous year in which its pricing strategy and ties to a specialty pharmacy led to a wider political and regulatory scrutiny.

In August, the company said it was eyeing $8 billion worth of sales for its non-core assets and could accept offers for its main businesses.

The Dendreon sale is expected to close in the first half of 2017. Valeant said it will use the proceeds to repay its term-loan debt under its senior credit facility.

Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair