NovartisThe word of the day: generics. While Pfizer was out making deals in India, Novartis was negotiating to buy Ebewe Pharma's cancer drugs unit–for a respectable $1.3 billion.

The all-cash deal will give Novartis Ebewe's generic oncology injectables, further beefing up the Swiss drugmaker's already strong Sandoz unit.

Included in the portfolio are such broadly used meds as methotrexate, paciltaxel, oxaliplatin, carboplatin, et al, which are standard components of many cancer-therapy cocktails. Sandoz will be able to take these best-practice treatments and run, the company says, grabbing market share along the way. "These medicines will remain the backbone of multi-drug treatments in the fight against cancer, one of the world's leading causes of death," Novartis chief Daniel Vasella said in a statement. "Ebewe Pharma will further strengthen our pipeline with many planned near-term launches."

The company plans to use Ebewe's Austrian base as the core of a "new global center of excellence," with Ebewe CEO Friedrich Hillebrand in charge. The idea being that Hillebrand and his team can use their expertise in developing oncology generics–and manufacturing them–to get more copycat cancer drugs onto the market posthaste. Plus, Ebewe has existing sales relationships with hospitals and other cancer-drug providers, which Sandoz (and perhaps Novartis at large) can leverage.