Is Roche looking to take-over Alexion?

In Partnering & Investment by Tim Peplow

roche alexion soliris orphan drug

Shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals rocketed by more than 23% at one point last Friday following rumours that Roche Holding AG was seeking billions of dollars in financing for potential take-over of the Soliris makers. Citing “people with knowledge of the situation”, Bloomberg ran the story.

The acquisition rumour comes as analysts note Roche’s recent history of pipeline failures, with the Swiss company recently halting its phase III trial of diabetes drug aleglitazar due to safety concerns. “On the first page of the pharma playbook is: ‘If you have pipeline failures, do an acquisition,’” said Les Funtleyder, a health-care strategist at Poliwogg.

Alexion’s only drug Soliris, which is an orphan drug licensed for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), is a particularly attractive investment. Soliris “is the closest thing to an annuity you have in biotech; you have a drug that is life-saving for a patient and it’s a chronic therapy, so you have that patient for life,” said Christopher Raymond, an analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co.

Read more at Bloomberg >

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Martin Mackay, executive vice president and global head of R&D at Alexion, will be speaking at the World Orphan Drug Congress Europe 2013, 14-15 November 2013, Geneva.