Pfizer eyes troubled Intercytex for buyout

Despite setbacks, Intercytex is working hard to stay in the game. The troubled U.K. biotech saw it shares jump 30 percent today on the news that Pfizer is among the company's suitors. The interest likely stems from the new relationship Pfizer has built with the company through a collaboration deal between U.K.-based Pfizer Regenerative Medicine and the University College of London. In a related deal between Intercytex and UCL, Intercytex is providing the partners with an embryonic stem cell line for their research on treatments for age-related macular degeneration.

"It is interesting that such a major player would weigh in on the deal," Daniel Stewart analyst Vadim Alexandre tells Reuters. "They (Pfizer) have a regenerative medicine centre that they've opened up recently in Cambridge so they are moving in that direction. Clearly Intercytex is a company that has some interesting intellectual property." Intercytex's work on macular degeneration is based on research at Axordia, which Intercytex purchased in December for £1.68 million.

According to the U.K.'s Times Online, Intercytex is valued at £10.5 million. The company's shares soared 56 percent last week after it first reported receiving buyout offers. It was a much-needed boost for the company, which has watched its shares drop 75 percent over the last year. The biotech's stock plunged earlier this year after its lead drug candidate Cyzact--a chronic wound treatment--failed in Phase III trials. And in January, Intercytex decided to cut half of its U.K. and Boston staff after failing to raise £9 million in much needed capital. A month later, with only enough cash on hand to see the company through March, Intercytex announced it would put itself on the auction block.

- here's the Times Online story
- check out the Reuters piece

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