Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX) is paying $900 million to buy Sigma-Tau Finanziaria SpA’s Oncaspar unit, which makes medication to treat leukemia.

The acquisition is one of several we've seen as companies try to build up their cancer-treatment offerings. For more, see New Cancer Drugs Spark Deal Possibilities.

Oncaspar is a product used as part of a multi-agent chemotherapy program to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which accounts for more than 80 percent of childhood leukemia cases. The drug is marketed in the U.S., Germany, Poland and other countries, and has about $100 million in annual sales.

The seller is a Rome, Italy-based pharmaceutical manufacturing and marketing company.

Baxter, headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, expects the purchase to accelerate its efforts in the oncology market. The company makes drugs to treat patients with hemophilia, immune disorders, cancer, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma and other chronic conditions. In July, Baxter sold its marketed vaccines portfolio to Pfizer Inc. for $635 million.  

Other drugmakers have also made cancer-related buys. In March, AbbVie Inc. beat out Johnson & Johnson to buy blood cancer therapy developer Pharamcyclics Inc. for $21 billion. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. made two acquisitions in February, Flexus Biosciences Inc. and Rigel Pharmaceutical Inc., to bolster its products that boost the body's immune system to fight cancer. 

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