Biogen Idec looks to sell itself by 2008

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. The biotech company Biogen Idec is trying to sell itself before the year ends and is now accepting offers from major pharmaceuticals companies, according to

The shares of the company have fallen off steeply over the last month, based on worry that the company would not accept much of a premium. Others worry that the company might not even sell at all.

Biogen’s key drugs are manufactured under deals with other companies like Genentech and Elan. Rituxan, which is used to treat cancer patients with indolent and aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is manufactured under an agreement between Biogen and Genentech. Tysarbi, a multiple sclerosis drug, is made under a deal between the company and Elan.

Tysarbi seems to be the key in the deal. The drug was removed from the market two years ago, when it was found the drug was linked to a rare brain disease. Since it has been put back on the market, the company has announced that the drug has not repeated these symptoms.

The company also forecasts that use of the drug will rise from 17,000 patients today to 100,000 by 2010. So far, a number of major drug companies have been mentioned as potential bidders, including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Merck, Johnson & Johnson and Bristol-Myers Squibb, though it’s unclear which of them—if any—have actually submitted bids.

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