- Shares of Relypsa spiked by nearly 70% yesterday after reports the Redwood City, CA-based biotech was examining a possible sale. The company, which makes treatments for hyperkalemia, is said to be working with the investment bank Centerview Partners Holdings LLC to review buyout offers, Reuters reported.
- Relypsa's drug for hyperkalemia, Veltassa, was approved in the U.S. last October and launched commercially in January.
- Interest in the biotech seems to have increased since AstraZeneca bought its competitor ZS Pharma late last year for $2.7 billion. As part of that deal, AstraZeneca acquired ZS-9, a drug in late-stage development for hyperkalemia.
When AZ agreed to buy ZS Pharma for $2.7 billion in November, it was a major coup for the company—and a disappointment for other bidders, such as Actelion Pharma, trying to get a foothold in the market.
Now companies appear to be eyeing Relypsa as a possible acquisition target and a way into the hyperkalemia market. The report from Reuters indicated several of the companies which failed to buy ZS had contacted Relypsa.
However, discussions are in early stages and may not develop further, the report said.
Hyperkalemia, or high levels of serum potassium, is a common co-morbidity in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and heart failure. It also affects some patients who are receiving renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibition (RAASi) therapy.
At the time of the ZS Pharma acquisition, AstraZeneca said it expected global peak year sales for ZS-9 to reach $1 billion. The drug is currently under regulatory review by the FDA with a target action date of May 26 2016.