For weeks now Amgen ($AMGN) has repeatedly been named as one of the most motivated suitors considering a takeover of Actelion. Interested in the blockbuster sales potential of Tracleer, a drug used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, as well as its late-stage cardiovascular programs, Amgen would be in line for fresh revenue from new products as its old franchises for Enbrel and anemia drugs steadily flags. Now a trio of insiders tell Bloomberg that Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer sat down with Actelion CEO Jean-Paul Clozel last week to chat about a potential M&A deal that would overcome the developer's vows to remain independent.
No bid was proffered during the meeting, Bloomberg reports. But one of the insiders told the business news service that Sharer was interested in determining Clozel's views on the subject as opposed to the board's position.
So far, Clozel has left little doubt that he prefers to stay independent. But he also doesn't want to offend a big player like Amgen. With Tracleer pumping in a steady stream of cash, the developer--which has a market value close to $7 billion--has a shot at expanding its cardio franchise with fresh approvals. But that profile is also a tempting target for Amgen and others. Bayer and Eli Lilly have both been named by analysts as possible bidders, with a deal for Actelion likely to come close to $10 billion.