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Savient shares fall on failure to find buyer

Shares of Savient lost almost half their value after company management disclosed that a buyer for the firm has not been found

Shares of Savient Pharmaceuticals lost almost half their value this week after company management disclosed that, in spite of the recent US approval of its gout drug Krystexxa (pegloticase), a buyer for the firm has not been found.

Savient recently announced that it was beginning the process of identifying a strategic transaction for the sale of the company following the approval of the gout drug. However, having failed to find a buyer, the company now plans to go forward with the launch of the drug itself.

"We can confirm that we conducted a broad process open to all companies that we consider to be potential acquirers of Savient and ultimately that process did not result in the sale of the company at this time," Philip Yachmetz, general counsel for Savient, said during a conference call, declining to provide further details. "What is important is that we have an FDA (Food and Drug Administration)-approved product in Krystexxa, and it is our belief that it is in the best interest of our shareholders to rapidly advance the launch of Krystexxa."

Savient President Paul Hamelin said during the call that the company will begin shipping the gout drug in December and will also announce pricing for the drug at that time.  Krystexxa was cleared last month by the FDA for the treatment of chronic gout in adult patients who are refractory to conventional therapy.

"We have already prepared large quantities of Krystexxa in order to meet the anticipated requirements for the commencement of shipments into commerce in December," Hamelin said. "We also have on hand in the US sufficient quantities of additional product ready for final packaging and labelling later this quarter and additional supply quantities at various points throughout 2011."

Hamelin added that once the product is released in December, the company expects to begin hiring a 60-person sales force with the aim of having all the reps on-board and ready for training by mid-January 2011. "This would allow us to commence full promotional detailing with a sales force early in the first quarter of 2011," he noted.

The company is on track to file its application for the drug with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on January 4, Hamelin added.

29th October 2010


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