Amgen eyes up £4bn deal

City A.M. Reporter
SHARES in the Swiss drugmaker Actelion, which specialises in pulmonary hypertension drugs and has a market capitalisation of about $6.6bn (£4.2bn), were up yesterday morning on reports that the US biotech firm Amgen was studying a takeover offer.

Actelion shares have gained 35 per cent since early October as takeover talk swirled, recouping most of this year’s losses following a series of drug setbacks.

“A bid would make sense, Amgen is in an uncomfortable situation because sales have been eroding,” said Helvea analyst Olav Zilian, citing Actelion’s pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) treatment Tracleer as a potential $2bn a year drug by 2015.

He added: “We expect their PAH franchise could extend well beyond 2015 with two late stage compounds to substitute Tracleer when the patent expires. And they have two mid-stage compounds, for auto immune disorders and allergic conditions, which would strengthen the Amgen pipeline.”

Amgen has said it is looking to expand internationally and analysts have previously named Actelion as a potential target.

Actelion’s efforts to reduce its dependence on key drug Tracleer, which treats a rare heart and lung disorder and rakes in more than $1bn a year, have been thwarted by a string of recent setbacks. Actelion’s stock closed up nine per cent at SwFr54.60.

Amgen spokesman David Polk declined to comment.