A Thanksgiving-shortened holiday week in the United States didn't stop drugmakers abroad from wheeling and dealing. Last week, British-based GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) announced one of the year's larger pharmaceutical buyouts.

In a deal valued at $1.65 billion in cash, Glaxo announced it was acquiring privately held Reliant Pharmaceuticals. Reliant is not a research-and-development focused drugmaker; it primarily in-licenses other drugmakers' compounds, then leverages its hefty 875-person sales force to market those drugs.

Like fellow specialty pharmas Cubist (NASDAQ:CBST) or Vanda, Reliant got its start by in-licensing a compound that a large-cap pharma wasn't interested in -- in this case, compounds from Novartis (NYSE:NVS) and Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) -- then expanding from there.

Reliant's in-licensing and marketing focuses on drugs to treat cardiovascular conditions. Its lead compound, heart disease treatment Lovaza, enjoyed sales of $206 million in the first nine months of the year, up 115% year over year.

Reliant's four marketed products generated $341 million in revenue in the first nine months of 2007. At an annualized run rate of $455 million, getting Reliant for less than 4 times yearly sales of these compounds looks cheap, considering the strong growth of Lovaza, its long remaining patent life, and the fact that Glaxo is now getting an added sales force to complement its existing cardiovascular drug portfolio.

Investors in Hidden Gems pick Flamel Technologies (NASDAQ:FLML) should consider the Reliant deal a net positive for their company as well. The addition of a large U.S. cardiovascular-focused sales force will likely mean a broader detailing of heart failure drug Coreg CR, and some degree of extra sales for it.

Many of the large-cap drugmakers seemed to complete their Christmas shopping early this year. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) made a bid for development-stage Coley Pharmaceuticals two weeks ago, and last week, Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) bought oncology-focused Pharmion for $2.9 billion.

Acquiring Reliant looks like a smart deal for Glaxo. The additional sales force will bolster revenue of Glaxo's existing cardiovascular drugs. In turn, Glaxo will also be able to improve the sales performance of the Reliant compounds as it flexes its marketing muscle with these drugs. Not a bad pre-Christmas stocking stuffer.

Pfizer is an active Inside Value pick. GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly are active Income Investor picks. Flamel is an active Hidden Gems pick. Whether you like your companies big or small, dividend-laden or growth-happy, we've got a newsletter for you.

Fool contributor Brian Lawler does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has an A+ disclosure policy.