According to people close to the matter, Sanofi's takeover discussions with Actelion include negotiations on a contingent value right (CVR) worth around $20 of the potential price of $275 per share, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. The sources suggested that the possible CVR would be linked to drugs Actelion has in advanced testing.
People recently indicated that talks between Sanofi and Actelion are focused on the structure of the CVR and which drugs it would include, with the Swiss company's experimental treatment for relapsing multiple sclerosis, ponesimod, said to be one of the medicines that may form part of the negotiations. However, sources cautioned Wednesday that there's no guarantee a deal will be reached.
Actelion CEO Paul Clozel has been bullish about the prospects for ponesimod, recently suggesting that use of the drug in combination with another therapy could "solve the issue of multiple sclerosis" by eliminating relapses. However, some sceptics have pointed out that ponesimod works in a similar way to Novartis' Gilenya (fingolimod) and may not reach the market until the latter loses patent protection around the end of the decade. Meanwhile, other companies are developing similar drugs, including Celgene.
Zuercher Kantonalbank analyst Sibylle Bischofberger said that ponesimod's one difference is its much shorter half-life, which could make it an attractive option for multiple sclerosis patients facing other diseases as well, a niche of 10 percent of the market at most. "If I were a shareholder of Actelion I'd want as much money as possible now," remarked Bischofberger, adding a CVR is "like playing the lottery."
For related analysis, see ViewPoints: J&J drops out as Sanofi said to take lead in Actelion chase.
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