Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Weighs Sale After Receiving Takeover Interest

Updated on
  • U.S. biopharmaceutical company attracting other drugmakers
  • Shares surge as much as 18 percent; no final decision made

Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc., a U.S. biopharmaceutical company with a focus on gastroenterology, is reviewing options including a sale of the business after receiving takeover interest, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company, which hasn’t made a decision, may still decide against a sale and instead pursue growth through acquisitions, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The company could be attractive for large drugmakers with an interest in gastroenterology, the people said.

Sucampo shares jumped as much as 18 percent Thursday and were up 9 percent to $16.30 at 2:15 p.m. in New York trading. That’s up more than 71 percent from their most recent low point on Oct. 30, giving the Rockville, Maryland-based company a market value of $760 million.

A representative for Sucampo declined to comment.

Sucampo sells Amitiza, a drug for chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. The company has a licensing and collaboration agreement with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. for Amitiza in countries including the U.S. and Canada, according to the company’s website. It also has two drugs in late-stage clinical trials for rare diseases.

The company was founded by Ryuji Ueno and Sachiko Kuno, who remain controlling shareholders with a combined stake of more than 30 percent. The company has grown organically and through deals including the purchase this year of rare disease business Vtesse for about $200 million.

— With assistance by Ed Hammond

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