Shares of the rare disease drug specialist Alexion spiked 18% this afternoon after Bloomberg reported that Roche has been putting out feelers to raise cash for a big buyout. The spike put Alexion's market cap at $23 billion, up $3 billion, making this potentially the biggest proposed deal of the year, dwarfing Amgen's $10 billion play for Onyx.
Over the past 10 years Shire has become a business model in the biotech world. It's added impressive new units to the company, built sales with new products and enjoyed high status in the red-hot field of rare diseases. And in this business at this time, what's admired is generally a topic of takeover rumors.
The new CEO at AstraZeneca has put together his top executive crew responsible for turning around the laggard pharma giant. And there was no room on board for R&D chief Martin Mackay. A little more than two years since he was poached from Pfizer, Pascal Soriot is eliminating the position of president of R&D while also bidding goodbye to Tony Zook and the now-extinct job of EVP, global commercial.
The deal pairs the company on the research work that needs to be done in China to win an approval for irritable bowel syndrome, with the biotech company relentlessly hanging on to a 50% share of the profits in China.
After chopping deep into its R&D operations to scale back on expenses, AstraZeneca has struck a pact to outsource part of its drug discovery operations to a CRO in China. Pharmaron, which only recently snipped the ribbon at its new complex in Beijing, will play a supporting role on chemistry, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and efficacy screening for the pharma giant in a multi-year deal announced over the weekend.
Add another failure in AstraZeneca's pipeline. The London-based drug giant and partner BTG have scrapped development of an experimental antibody for sepsis and septic shock after mid-stage study bombed, BTG announced today.
AstraZeneca's biotech arm, MedImmune, is doing its part in a corporate restructuring operation--axing 200 workers and relocating 100 others as it shutters a pair of facilities in California.
AstraZeneca's decision to expand its diabetes partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb in the wake of the $5.3 billion Amylin buyout is the biggest new deal in a string of drug pacts completed this year. But don't expect the pharma giant to back away from the deal table anytime soon.
In an interview with the Financial Times, AstraZeneca R&D chief Martin Mackay trotted out a roster of activities on his to-do list.
Caught with one of the weakest late-stage programs in Big Pharma, promising drugs that can add some excitement and get the analysts to back off are welcome.