Clovis Oncology Said to Explore Sale of Biotech Company

Clovis Oncology Inc., a developer of cancer treatments whose value has more than tripled this year, is exploring strategic options including a sale of the company, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Clovis is working with advisers including Credit Suisse AG to help it find a buyer, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The process is still in the early stages and the company is not yet in exclusive talks with any potential acquirer, one of the people said.

By selling now, Clovis would cash in on booming interest in the biotechnology sector from pharmaceutical companies looking for new products, one of the people said. Purchases of drug makers and biotechnology companies are up about 15 percent in value to $72 billion this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Buyers have paid an average premium of 63 percent for biotechnology companies, the data show.

Shares of the Boulder, Colorado-based company, rose more than 7 percent to $72.44 at the close in in New York today, giving the company a market value of about $2.2 billion, after surging as much as 21 percent earlier.

A spokeswoman for Clovis didn’t respond to phone calls and e-mails seeking comment on the potential sale. Credit Suisse spokesman Jack Grone declined to comment.

Surging Stock

Recent purchases have targeted “bolt-ons” that add a small number of products, rather than a slate of drugs, to a company’s pipeline. Last month, Amgen Inc. agreed to buy Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc., which develops cancer treatments, in a $10.4 billion deal.

Clovis, which has yet to report any revenue, surged on June 3 after the company said a drug for non-small cell lung cancer showed a response in tumors previously resistant to treatment. The company’s ovarian cancer drug, rucaparib, also showed benefits to patients. Both drugs are in early stages of development.

Ahead of today’s gains its shares were up 322 percent this year, making Clovis the second-best performer on the 121-member Nasdaq Biotechnology Index. The benchmark has gained 52 percent this year.

(Updates with closing share price in fourth paragraph.)
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