Actelion: We're interested in ZS Pharma, but not dependent on M&A
- Actelion, flush with cash from its successful pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) drug, is looking at "seven or eight" potential targets for a buyout, according to a report from Reuters.
- Actelion's PAH drug, Opsumit (macitentan) has exceeded expcatations.
- The company has $730 million in cash on hand with which to make acquisitions.
Despite preliminary talks between Actelion and ZS Pharma—and rumors of a $2.5 billion offer from Actelion's CEO, Jean-Paul Clozel—there is no commitment on either side so far, only a conversation. For some time now, Actelion has been a source of M&A speculation, both as a buyer and a company to be bought.
Though Actelion has emphasized that it is not dependent on M&A, an acquisition would be good for the company in a couple of ways. First, it would broaden its pipeline, which has a few promising candidates, including a late-stage treatment for hyperkalemia; another PAH drug, which is close to being approvable; an MS drug in phase 3 development; and a drug for C. dificile-related diarrhea.
However, a stronger pipeline would also help the company stave off an unwanted bid from another buyer.