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Oct 22, 2007
 |  BioCentury  |  Finance

Change of control calculus

The fate of Biogen Idec Inc.'s two partnered drugs - Tysabri natalizumab and Rituxan rituximab - took center stage last week following BIIB's announcement the prior week that it is considering being acquired and has received interest from several parties, including financier Carl Icahn.

BIIB (Cambridge, Mass.) opened on Monday at $83.35, up $13.92 (20%) from the previous Friday, then cooled to close the week off $3.13 to $80.22.

On Monday, Elan Corp. plc (ELN, Dublin, Ireland) entered the fray, saying it had hired Lehman Brothers to help weigh its options for buying, selling or retaining its 50% interest in U.S. sales of multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri. It also suggested it might want to restructure the collaboration if BIIB is acquired.

Genentech Inc. (DNA, South San Francisco, Calif.), which shares rights to Rituxan, has not weighed in. The partners co-promote Rituxan in the U.S. for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The ex-U.S. royalty stream comes to BIIB through DNA. Rituxan is marketed outside of the U.S. by Roche (SWX:ROG, Basel, Switzerland), except in Japan where it is co-marketed by ROG and Zenyaku Kogyo Co. Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan). BIIB is only entitled to these ex-U.S. royalties through 2009.

Rituxan is being evaluated for additional indications in several studies: Phase II/III trials for primary progressive multiple sclerosis, ANCA-associated vasculitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and...

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