BASEL, Switzerland (AP) _ Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis said Friday it is buying the U.S. rights to the commodity generics line of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Apothecon arm.

Novartis said the purchase of the off-patent drugs will add an estimated $100 million in annual sales, but it did not disclose financial details of the transaction.

The deal should be completed Jan. 1, subject to regulatory approval, the company said.

``The strategic significance of this acquisition is that it gives us immediate entry into the finished antibiotic medicines arena in the world's largest pharmaceutical market,'' said Oswald Sellemond, the head of Novartis Genetics.

The acquisition follows Novartis' announcement Dec. 4 that it would buy the European generic drugs business of German chemicals group BASF for $103 million. That deal is also set for completion Jan. 1.