Is it news to you? Furiex really is up on the auction block

Fred Eshelman, founding chairman of Furiex Pharmaceuticals

When Furiex posted positive Phase III data on its lead drug, the biotech did everything just short of posting a "for sale" sign in its front yard to signal its intentions as its market cap more than doubled in a matter of hours. Now, in case you missed the signals, Bloomberg is reporting its sources are saying that the company ($FURX) has signed on with Bank of America to engineer a deal.

There was a bit of news in the Bloomberg post. Furiex, reports the business news service, had actually tried to sell itself last year but couldn't. Now that late-stage data demonstrate the effectiveness of eluxadoline for irritable bowel syndrome, the biotech believes it is within grabbing distance of a regulatory approval for a drug with blockbuster potential.

And who would be better than a big pharma company in need of new products to drive it home?

Company chairman Fred Eshelman made it quite clear what the company's strategy was when the drug cleared Phase III. The company could market the drug itself, the cofounder of PPD told FierceBiotech earlier this month, but that stand had the distinct flavor of a bargaining position to take with a would-be buyer bargaining over an actual price. It was clearly not the outcome that the company is looking for.

"If we don't get offers," Eshelman added to FierceBiotech, "then with the data we would mount a commercial offer ourselves. We'd have to do some money-raising of one type or another; we don't have any commercial operations."

Translation: Come make us an offer we can't refuse.

- here's the Bloomberg report