Monday, March 23, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Swiss drug company Nycomed could be in the market sell itself for as much as 10 billion euro, or $13.57 billion, according to a media report Monday.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the privately held company had engaged Goldman Sachs to help find a buyer but might also consider options including new drug licenses or an initial public offering. Nycomed, which is based in Zurich, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

At the reported sale price, Nycomed would fetch a far lower value than Wyeth, which was recently sold to Pfizer Inc. for $68 billion, and Schering-Plough, bought by Merck for $44.1 billion. But $13.57 billion would be more than double what Eli Lilly & Co. paid for ImClone Systems Inc. last fall.

Nycomed makes almost half its sales to European markets, including a strong presence in eastern Europe. The company describes itself as one of the 25 largest drugmakers in the world, and the 15th-largest seller of over-the-counter medicines. Nycomed says it focuses on gastroenterology, pain management, osteoporosis, respiratory diseases and tissue management.

Nycomed licenses the heartburn drug Protonix to Wyeth in the U.S. Nycomed also has partnerships with NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc., Immunomedics Inc., Sepracor Inc., Micromet Inc. and Baxter International Inc., among others.

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