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With Opsumit launch rolling, Actelion doesn't 'need' M&A: CEO

October 20, 2015
Life sciences

Back in 2013, Actelion launched Opsumit, a new-and-improved pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) drug it hoped would help make up sales for its aging Tracleer. And so far, everything is going according to plan.

The med pulled in CHF 147 million ($154 million) for the Swiss biotech in Q3, trumping the CHF 125 million analysts had predicted. “The launch momentum for Opsumit continues unabated,” CFO Andre Muller told Reuters.

It’s a good time for Opsumit to be hitting its stride. Sales of PAH predecessor Tracleer fell 17% to CHF 289 million for the period–about where analysts thought they’d be, the news service reports.

But with Opsumit picking up the slack, the company thinks it’s in good shape. It revised its growth forecast for the year, announcing that it now expects core earnings expansion to top 20%, up from the mid- to high-teens jump it last predicted.

As such, Actelion doesn’t “need M&A,” it’s CEO, Jean-Paul Clozel, told Reuters, pointing out that pickups were “not a fundamental aspect of our strategy.”

But that hasn’t kept the company out of many an M&A rumor. Back in September, it confirmed that it was in strategic talks with Texas’ ZS Pharma, and it’s in regular discussions with “7 or 8” companies over possible tie-ups. Actelion has the capacity to make a buy bigger than $2.5 billion, Muller said, though it won’t pull the trigger without good reason.

But Opsumit’s hot start could attract buyers, too. Earlier this year, word on the street was that deal-hungry Shire was eyeing a deal, sending Actelion’s shares up past CHF 147. Since then, though, Shire has made a play for young Baxter spinoff Baxalta, and Clozel told Reuters Actelion hasn’t been approached by shoppers.

By Carly Helfand

Source: Fierce Pharma

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