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Shire rumoured to be pursuing Actelion

Allegedly made a £12.4bn takeover bid for the Swiss biopharma

Shire BasingstokeShire is considering a move to acquire Swiss biopharma company Actelion in a move that would boost its rare disease portfolio.

According to a report in the Sunday Times, Shire made an informal approach to Actelion about a possible £12.4bn takeover several weeks ago, but the opening bid was turned down despite being a 20% premium on its recent share price.

Neither company is commenting publicly on the rumour, but it comes amid a wave of merger & acquisition activity in the biopharma sector, which has been particularly focused on mid-range companies developing specialty/rare disease therapies and generic drugs.

Last month, Alexion unveiled an $8.4bn agreement to buy rare disease specialist Synageva, while Shire itself agreed to buy NPS for $5.2bn earlier this year. Meanwhile, Mylan is pursuing Perrigo whilst in turn being pursued by Teva, and Endo has an $8bn merger with Par in play.

Other transactions including rare disease companies of late include Horizon Pharma's $1.1bn deal to buy urea cycle disorder specialist Hyperion Therapeutics and BioMarin $840m purchase of Prosensa in order to gain control of muscular dystrophy therapy drisapersen.

Buying Actelion would give Shire a portfolio of drugs to treat pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH) including Tracleer (bosentan), Opsumit (macitentan) and Veletri (epoprostenol), as well as Gaucher disease therapy Zavesca (miglustat) that would sit alongside Vpriv (velaglucerase alfa) Shire's own drug for the genetic disorder.

Actelion reported revenues of 515m Swiss francs ($550m) in the first quarter of the year - a rise of 10% - with operating profits of 190m francs, with generic pressure on Tracleer offset by strong growth for Opsumit. The company also has high hopes for its pipeline, particularly PAH candidate Uptravi (selexipag) which has been filed for approval. 

Shire was almost snapped up by AbbVie last year before a change to the way the US Treasury dealt with so-called tax inversion deals led to the deal being abandoned. 

Since then - and armed with a $1.6bn break-up fee from AbbVie - the company has pursued an acquisitive policy aimed at catapulting its annual revenues to $10bn by the end of the decade.

Article by
Phil Taylor

8th June 2015

From: Sales

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