Nycomed, others eye Solvay drug unit

Citing a "person familiar with the matter," Reuters reports that Nycomed and an unnamed Japanese company are interested in purchasing Solvay's entire drug unit, which the company put up for sale in April. Abbott Labs was rumored to be interested in Solvay, but only for its anti-cholesterol med TriCor. However, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Abbott CFO Thomas Freyman has denied those reports. "We have no interest in expanding our participation in the fenofibrate market, which was implied in the [Financial Times] article," he said in a conference call.

A number of larger pharma players--including AstraZeneca, Novartis, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Aventis--are rumored to have explored a deal with the European chemicals company, but nothing has panned out thus far. A source tells Reuters that the three companies are still conducting due diligence, and that Solvay is hoping to announce a bid by the end of the summer. Analysts say Solvay's drug unit, which features drugs for cholesterol, hypertension, Parkinson's disease and hormone replacement therapies for men and woman, could garner a $7 billion bid.

- see the Reuters article
- here's the WSJ piece