AstraZeneca, Cubist, Astellas Said to Bid for Optimer

AstraZeneca Plc and Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. are among the suitors that made first-round bids for Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc., the antibiotics maker weighing a sale, said people familiar with the matter.

Optimer stock surged 14 percent following Bloomberg’s report yesterday. The maker of the Dificid drug used to treat intestinal infections also attracted an offer from Japan’s Astellas Pharma Inc. and others, said the people, who asked not to be named because the process is private. Optimer’s managers will make presentations to bidders later in the month, one person said.

Optimer’s drug is sold for use in hospitals. All the bidders are health-care companies that could also sell the treatment to medical centers, one of the people said. Cubist, Astellas and AstraZeneca have current partnerships with Jersey City, New Jersey-based Optimer to sell the drug, making them logical suitors, one of the people said.

Optimer’s managers disclosed almost three months ago that they were working with Centerview Partners LLC and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to explore its strategic options.

Representatives for Optimer, AstraZeneca, Astellas and Cubist declined to comment.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc had expressed interest early in the sales process and elected not to bid, said a person familiar with the matter.

Market Value

Optimer was unchanged at $14.66 at 10:06 a.m. in New York, giving the company a market value of about $714 million.

The stock declined last week after Optimer reported a first-quarter loss of 65 cents a share, wider than some analysts projected. Dificid won approval in 2011, and the drug generated more than $60 million in revenue last year, or almost two-thirds of Optimer’s total.

Former Chairman Michael Chang left Optimer last year after the board found that he failed to identify and manage conflict of interest issues tied to a stock grant. The company also replaced Chief Executive Officer Pedro Lichtinger in February, when Optimer disclosed the board’s strategic review.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.