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GEN News Highlights : Nov 15, 2012

Report: AZ, Teva Vie for Amarin

AstraZeneca and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries are competing to buy Irish-owned Amarin, an Israeli newspaper reported.

AZ and Teva had no comment on the report by the financial daily Calcalist, which cited unnamed sources in reporting that both were among leading contenders for Amarin. The report came two weeks after Teva’s new CEO, Jeremy Levin, said he had no plans to propel his company into a major acquisition.

However, AZ’s new CEO Pascal Soriot, has said he expects to grow through acquisitions, with industry watchers expecting the company to snap up both giant and mid-sized European biopharmas. And a reporter for London’s Daily Mail, who last year correctly anticipated GlaxoSmithKline buying Human Genome Sciences, speculated last month that AZ wants to buy the Irish company.

In July, Amarin won FDA approval for the heart drug Vascepa, for reducing triglyceride levels in adult patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia in combination with diet. The approval has raised questions about whether the company will undertake production of the drug or outsource it, since Amarin has no production facility and relies on Nisshin for the drug’s active ingredients. Plans call for Amarin to launch commercial production of Vascepa during the first quarter of 2013.

Amarin has also had to ponder whether to expand by ramping up a sales and marketing team for Vascepa, or farming that operation out as well. AZ’s sales force has had success marketing a heart drug, Crestor, but the blockbuster is set to go off patent on Nov. 30.