Abraxis Bioscience has retained Goldman Sachs and Lazard to explore the possible sale of the company, sources tell dealReporter. The rumored deal talks follow the release of data last month showing the company's drug Abraxane demonstrated a significant improvement in overall response rate as compared with Taxol in a study of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Earlier this year, CEO Patrick Soon-Shiong said in an interview with the Financial Times that the company was open to the possibility of a deal.
But Soon-Shiong's high asking price may drive potential buyers away, according to the sources. GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, Eli Lilly have all reportedly expressed interest in the oncology company. But one person says several companies have lost interest, including Abraxis' former Abraxane partner AstraZeneca.
Abraxis has made some recent moves that give credence to the report. The company plans to spin off its R&D arm to found Abraxis Health; the move was announced last year, though a timeframe for its completion wasn't revealed. And former CEO Lonnie Moulder left the developer after less than a year as the company's chief. Abraxis has a market cap of $2.1 billion, according to L.A. Business Journal. No one at Abraxis, Goldman Sachs or Lazard has commented on the report.