Valeant’s Relistor Said to Draw Interest of Potential Buyers

  • Sale of Relistor could fetch $400 million to $500 million
  • Relistor has attracted interest from other drugmakers

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.’s Relistor drug has attracted interest from other companies as the beleaguered Canadian firm works to reduce its debt load, people familiar with the matter said.

A potential sale could value the constipation treatment at $400 million to $500 million, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Valeant could still choose not to sell the drug, the people said. A representative for Valeant declined to comment.

Chief Executive Officer Joe Papa is seeking to ease a debt burden that ballooned to more than $30 billion as he also works to help the business recover from criticism of its business practices and drug pricing. The company, whose investors include Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management, is also considering other asset sales, including smaller cosmetic and pharmaceutical assets, to raise cash, people familiar with the matter have said previously.

Valeant and its partner for Relistor, Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., said last month that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the tablet form of the drug to treat constipation brought on by taking opioids for chronic, non-cancer pain. Valeant said it expects to start selling Relistor tablets in the U.S. in the third quarter this year. An injectable form of the treatment was approved by the FDA in 2008.

Progenics said on July 26 it had received a $50 million payment from Valeant after the FDA’s approval. Progenics is entitled to receive as much as $200 million of milestone payments tied to sales of the drug, the company said.

Valeant shares fell less than 1 percent to $22.17 at 2 p.m. in New York. The shares have lost 91 percent of their value in the last 12 months, as of Thursday’s close. The drugmaker reports second-quarter earnings next week.

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