Pfizer Inc. is expected to be secretly bidding for Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB(STO:SOBI), a Sweden-based pharmaceutical company, engaged in developing hemophilia, autoimmune diseases, metabolic diseases and cancer supportive care, as per a Thomson Reuters report.
Earlier this week, Swedish Orphan Biovitrum has disclosed that it has received a preliminary and conditional non-binding proposal from a potential buyers. Swedish Orphan Biovitrum’s shares surged 32.7% in the last five days, and over 90% in the last 52 weeks. Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (STO: SOBI) has a market value of $36.2 billion, as per the April 30, 2015 closing price.
Competing with Biogen
Although Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (STO: SOBI) did not reveal bidders, Analysts estimated Pfizer and Biogen Inc(NASDAQ:BIIB) to be potential bidders. Sobi is engaged in developing ReFactor AF, a hemophilia treatment, which is sold by Pfizer.
Sobi deferred its annual shareholder meeting to June 30, 2015, due to its takeover proposal, which was otherwise planned on May 6, 2015. Meanwhile, Richard Koch, analyst from Kepler Cheuvreux expects that Sobi’s bid might be in the range of 140-150 Swedish crowns per share, worth approximately in the range of 37 billion crowns to 40 billion crowns (around US$4.3 billion).
Sobi has partnership with Biogen in North Africa, Europe, Russia, and parts of Middle East regions, for its hemophilia franchise, with the partnership estimated to be over $3.7 billion. Recently, Sobi’s, Elocta (rFVIIIFc), its long-acting rare-disease hemophilia drug candidate, received orphan drug designation in Switzerland.
Pfizer looks at rare diseases
Pfizer Inc. has set up a Rare Disease Research Unit to capture the opportunity in drugs for rare diseases. Mikael Dolsten, president of Worldwide Research and Development at Pfizer said “The fundamental understanding of the biology of hereditary rare diseases, coupled with advances in the technology to harness disarmed viruses as gene delivery vehicles, provide a ripe opportunity to investigate the next wave of potential life-changing therapies for patients. By establishing our gene therapy capabilities, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that could potentially bring true disease modification for those suffering from devastating hematologic and neuromuscular diseases.”
Pfizer is seeking to acquire companies to grow its business, and have recently announced to buy Hospira Inc worth of $15 billion. The company’s attempt to acquire AstraZeneca Plc has failed last year. Pfizer’s CEO, Ian Read said that “he was open to deals and was agnostic about the size of acquisitions”, during the latest earnings call.
By Swapna Meka