Novartis appears ready to cherry pick some of Elan's prime assets, if it can come to terms on the details. Citing sources, The Sunday Times in London reported that the pharma giant is in talks to buy Elan's interest in Tysabri--which it markets with Biogen Idec--as well as its development programs for Alzheimer's.
The Irish biopharma company has been seeking a partner for months now, with reports of its on-and-off merger talks capturing headlines periodically. In Sunday's report, the source said that the complexity of a negotiation over buying specific assets would likely push any prospective deal signing "some way off."
Citigroup Global Markets was brought in at the beginning of the year to see if it could help arrange a merger, alliance or some minority investment. And Elan said earlier this month that a strategic transaction was in the offing. At one time or another, however, Elan has reportedly been in talks with BMS, Pfizer and Lundbeck, but no deal was ever finalized with any of them.