Last week’s announcement by Swiss drug maker, Roche Holding AG, that it was buying biotech firm InterMune, Inc. for $8.3 billlion sparked speculation by industry watchers about who would be the biotechs that might be involved in the next round of M&As. InterMune makes a drug, Esbriet (pirefnidone) that treats a lung condition, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Esbriet is approved in Canada and Europe. The drug has the potential to become a blockbuster seller. InterMune’s product would join Roche’s Pulmozyme and Xolair to build up its lung drug portfolio.
A number of names popped up such as Achillion Pharamaceuticals, Actelion, Puma Biotechnology, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, and others. Maybe people heard Achillian but were attracted to similar sounding Actelion.
- Achillion Pharamaceuticals makes Phase II hepatitis C virus (:HCV) candidate, ACH-3102.
- Puma Biotechnology is developing its Phase III breast cancer candidate neratinib, PB272.
- Intercept Pharmaceuticals makes its phase II nonalcoholic steatohepatitis drug, obeticholic acid, OCA.
- Actelion Pharmaceuticals makes a cancer drug to treat a rare form of non-Hodgekin’s lymphoma.
Some in the big pharma side are still holding out hopes of buying a biotech that can make their next blockbuster. So which will it be? Achillion? Actelion? Others? To be sure, we will need wait and see.