GlaxoSmithKline linked with bid for United Therapeutics: report

GlaxoSmithKline is weighing an offer to buy United Therapeutics, although sources suggest that Gilead Sciences may be the frontrunner in what could become an auction process, Evening Standard reported Friday. The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said that United Therapeutics could fetch up to $200 a share, valuing the company at around $8.7 billion.

The speculation comes after GlaxoSmithKline CEO Emma Walmsley recently acknowledged that the drugmaker would consider bolt-on acquisitions of companies with promising early-stage assets to bolster its pipeline. However, the UK company also said it would consider options for its rare diseases unit, whilst unveiling plans to eliminate more than 30 clinical and preclinical programmes, in order to focus on four key therapeutic areas.

United Therapeutics, whose shares rose as much as 10 percent on the speculation, currently has five drugs on the market, including four for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Evening Standard suggested that other potential suitors for the company could include Novartis.

For related analysis, see ViewPoints: GlaxoSmithKline – meet the new boss (same as the old boss or not?).

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