Biotech and Pharma

Valeant CEO says he'll never say never to selling core assets like Bausch & Lomb

Valeant CEO: Our main mission is improving people's lives

Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO Joseph Papa on Wednesday told CNBC he is "never going to say never" to selling core assets like Bausch & Lomb.

"Would we have to look at something if someone came forward with something? Of course we would, because we're a public company and we have over $30 billion of debt," he said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

However, those core assets — like dermatology and eye care — are "critically important" to the future of the company, he added.

Therefore, the company will focus on selling non-core assets, which he said could yield proceeds up to $8 billion.

The embattled drugmaker has seen its stock plunge about 90 percent since its record high last August after questions about its steep drug increases and unorthodox business practices. Papa took the reins of the embattled company in May.

Valeant is being investigated for its pricing practices and patient assistance program by the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the U.S. Attorney's offices in Massachusetts and New York. It is also facing shareholder lawsuits.

Papa said the company has hired a new general counsel and said, "We're going to work very closely with all the investigations and resolve them expeditiously."

He also noted the company will be faced with potential legal bills in the future, which will take some time to resolve.

"In the meantime, we're going to continue to grow … our earnings for the company and we're also going to look at these asset sales. So we think we can work our way through this in a very practical way," said Papa.

Ackman 'incredibly helpful'

Meanwhile, activist investor Bill Ackman has been a "wonderful source of information" and "incredibly helpful," Papa said.

The CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management joined the Valeant board in March. He is one of 10 new board members, Papa said, that bring a great range of experience from both the investor and pharmaceutical worlds.

— Reuters contributed to this report.