Shares in Dutch biotechnology firm Crucell rose 35 per cent today after the company said it was in talks with US drug maker Wyeth for a takeover of the Leiden-based company. With a successful acquisition, estimated at $1.35 billion, Wyeth may become one of the biggest vaccine makers in the world. Before Wyeth's interest became public knowledge, Crucell had a market value of €760 million ($1.03 billion).
Crucell's core portfolio includes a vaccine against hepatitis B, a fully liquid vaccine against five important childhood diseases and a virosome-adjuvanted vaccine against influenza. Crucell also markets travel vaccines, such as the only oral anti-typhoid vaccine, an oral cholera vaccine and the only aluminum-free hepatitis A vaccine on the market.
Crucell was picked by the US National Institutes of Health to develop vaccines against the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses. It's also working on an AIDS vaccine, which, in early studies, kept six monkeys from getting an animal equivalent of the disease.
The company has a broad development pipeline, with several product candidates based on its unique PER.C6 production technology. It licenses its PER.C6® technology and other technologies to the biopharmaceutical industry. Important partners and licensees include DSM Biologics, Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis, Wyeth and Merck & Co. Crucell is headquartered in Leiden, the Netherlands, with subsidiaries in Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Korea and the US. The company employs over a 1000 people.
Wyeth, formerly known as American Home Products (AHP), is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. The company is based in Madison, New Jersey. They are known for manufacturing the over-the-counter (OTC) drugs Robitussin and the analgesic Advil (ibuprofen), as well as the prescription drugs Premarin and Effexor, which both boast over $3 billion in sales annually.
The deal would allow Wyeth to challenge GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the world's biggest vaccine maker, and Sanofi-Aventis SA, the second biggest. Crucell would give Wyeth more than $250 million in added revenue, nine vaccines under development and factories in Switzerland, Sweden, Korea and Spain.
Shares in Crucell were up 35 per cent at €15.78 at a 16-month high by 0928 GMT, outperforming a 2 per cent higher Amsterdam midcap index.