Sector News

Drugmaker Actelion in ‘strategic transaction’ talks with ZS Pharma

September 11, 2015
Life sciences

(Reuters) – Switzerland-based drugmaker Actelion Ltd (ATLN.VX) said on Thursday it has initiated preliminary discussions with U.S. biotech company ZS Pharma Inc (ZSPH.O).

Bloomberg had reported earlier in the day that Actelion had offered to buy ZS Pharma last month in a deal valued at $2.5 billion.

Actelion and ZS Pharma both issued statements confirming that the two companies had held preliminary discussions, but did not specifically mention if the talks were related to a buyout.

ZS Pharma said the talks were “regarding a potential strategic transaction” and Actelion said the talks were “without any commitment on either party”.

ZS Pharma’s shares had spiked nearly 46 percent to touch a record high of $84.85 after the Bloomberg report. They closed up 28.4 percent, valuing the company at $1.9 billion.

San Mateo, California-based ZS Pharma’s lead experimental drug, ZS-9, is aimed at treating hyperalkemia, a build up of potassium in the body that could lead to heart failure.

The company filed a marketing application for ZS-9 with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May. The FDA is expected to issue a ruling on the application in May next year.

(Reporting by Vidya L Nathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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