Actelion Chief Says No Suitors Are Courting Drugmaker With Deals

  • Drugmaker is better off independent, CEO Clozel reiterates
  • Actelion scouts for small deals of its own to buoy revenue

Actelion isn’t fending off any takeover approaches, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Paul Clozel said, days after a media report cited the drugmaker as a possible target for Sanofi or Johnson & Johnson.

The Swiss company raised its full-year guidance Thursday after quarterly sales of two new lung medicines beat analysts’ estimates. The shares climbed as much as 3.2 percent in Zurich before retreating. With a gain of 24 percent in the past 12 months, the Allschwil, Switzerland-based company is becoming “more and more expensive” as a target, according to Clozel, who founded Actelion with his wife in 1997.

“We at Actelion -- the board of directors, the management, the employees -- are all building a company and not thinking about being sold the next day,” Clozel said in a telephone interview. “If we want to continue to create shareholder value, the best for us is to remain independent.”

Actelion continues to scout for deals of its own to gain new sources of revenue as its lung drug Tracleer, which made up more than half of sales last year, comes close to losing patent protection, Clozel said. Smaller transactions are more likely.

“With large-size acquisitions, we are falling into the hunting ground of large pharma companies, and they have very big pockets,” Clozel said. “We are also not ready to take on some of the risk that big companies need to take” to sustain sales, he said.

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