Faced with the failure of its sleep aid gaboxadol last week, analysts expect Denmark's H. Lundbeck to mount an aggressive licensing program or look at mergers and acquisitions to boost its business. The problem, they say, is that Lundbeck doesn't have the U.S. presence needed to make many in-licensing deals attractive and drug candidates have become so hotly sought after that few deals are available. Another factor, analysts tell The Wall Street Journal, is that Lundbeck focuses on the central nervous system, which severely restricts the types of licensing deals it can do.
Gaboxadol--being developed with Merck--was supposed to be Lundbeck's entrée into the U.S. and a successor to Lexapro, which loses its U.S. patent in 2012. The experimental antidepressant lu AA21004, meanwhile, is only in Phase II trials. A stroke drug and the antipsychotic Bifeprunox are both in Phase III, but each of those trials carries significant risk of failure. Lundbeck, though, says it has enough cash on hand to acquire another company of its own size, if it decides it needs to.
- read The Wall Street Journal article on Lundbeck (sub. req.)