Report: Buyout buzz grows (again) as InterMune perseveres in PhIII

As a pioneer in the fibrosis field, InterMune ($ITMN) has often been at the center of considerable buyout buzz. In the spring of 2011, for instance, the company had to pour cold water on fevered speculation that a deal was in the making after its drug Esbriet (pirfenidone) was approved in Europe. 

Now Bloomberg, which helped stir the rumor pot before, is back with a fresh mix of pure speculation and suggestions from analysts that InterMune's beaten-down stock price makes a takeover much more likely. The M&A tongues are wagging now because the FDA, which rejected Esbriet in 2010, appears ready to give the company the green light on this go-around. And Robert W. Baird puts Novartis ($NVS), GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Gilead Sciences ($GILD) at the lead of the queue, if there is one.

"Any pharma company, if they have confidence in the commercial opportunity and it gets approval, has to take a look at it," Baird's Brian Skorney says to Bloomberg.

InterMune was sent back to the drawingboard to design and execute a new trial for Esbriet ahead of any possible approval. That study should deliver data in about a year, with any interested parties having to consider the prospects of a company with some revenue, a battered share price and the chance of a near-term U.S. approval for its IPF drug. At the very least, you should expect to hear plenty of more buzz about InterMune in the months to come. In the meantime, a company spokesperson declined to comment.

- here's the story from Bloomberg

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