Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., the maker of the diabetes drugs Bydureon and Byetta, is seeking a buyer after rejecting an unsolicited bid from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., two people with knowledge of the matter said.
Amylin has hired Credit Suisse Group AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to help solicit possible offers, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
A number of drugmakers are considering whether to acquire San Diego-based Amylin to gain access to its diabetes franchise, according to another person familiar with the talks. Amylin began reaching out to potential buyers last week, one of the people said.
One company discussing a possible bid internally is Sanofi, though the Paris-based drugmaker is hesitant because Byetta, Amylin’s GLP-1 diabetes treatment, would compete with Sanofi’s similar experimental treatment, lixisenatide, according to a person familiar with the company’s deliberations who asked to remain anonymous because the talks are private.
Amylin gained 14 percent to $26.06 at 4 p.m. New York time, for the biggest increase since March 28, the day Bristol-Myers’ bid was reported.
Amylin doesn’t comment on market rumors or speculation, said Alice Izzo, a company spokeswoman. Spokesmen for Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Jean-Marc Podvin, a spokesman for Sanofi in Paris, declined to comment.
AstraZeneca Plc is in talks with several companies about possible licensing deals and acquisitions, Shaun Grady, the U.K. drugmaker’s head of business development, said in a telephone interview today. He declined to comment about whether Amylin is among those companies.
Amylin rejected an offer of $22 a share from New York-based Bristol-Myers in February, people with knowledge of the bid said last month.
That prompted a lawsuit by billionaire investor Carl Icahn earlier this month over a corporate bylaw that hamstrings Amylin’s investors from pursuing a proxy fight.
Icahn, who is Amylin’s third-largest shareholder, contends the drugmaker’s directors should be barred from enforcing a rule requiring advance notice of candidates for board seats since Amylin failed to make Bristol-Myers’s bid public before the filing deadline.
Icahn, who has targeted at least seven drug companies in the past five years, has urged Amylin to pursue a sale.
Amylin shares gained 78 percent in the past 12 months before today, jumping 54 percent on March 28, its biggest single-day increase since 1999, after it was reported the company rejected the bid from Bristol-Myers.