Last week, Horizon raised its buyout offer for California's Depomed in order to spur the drugmaker into coming to the bargaining table. But it looks like it'll have to go with Plan B.
Don't get Horizon Pharma wrong. It intends to pursue Depomed as an M&A target whether the California company likes it or not. But it would prefer for Depomed to like it--and in an effort to spur a "friendly, negotiated transaction," it's raising its bid.
Depomed was serious when it said it wasn't interested in Horizon Pharma's $29.25-per-share bid. Following the Irish pharma's move to take its hostile overture public last week, the company has put up its takeover defenses.
Last week, analysts pointed out that Horizon Pharma had plenty of potential buyouts to choose from, unlike bigger companies looking for bigger deals. Now, the $5 billion market-cap company has zeroed in on a target: Depomed, the pain drug specialist.
After securing U.S. rights to Janssen's Nucynta franchise in mid-January this year, Depomed has now raised enough to pay for it in full. Nucynta fits nicely into Depomed's cadre of pain and neurological treatments, and the Newark, CA-based company's Acuform drug delivery tech already gives Nucynta an edge as an oral treatment.
Depomed has big plans for the Nucynta franchise it picked up last week from Johnson & Johnson for $1.05 billion, and they start with a relaunch.
Earlier this week, once-skeptical Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky seemed to be fully on-board pharma's slim-down bandwagon, telling presentation-watchers at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference he was willing to jettison pieces of the J&J puzzle if they didn't present a "path to achieving leadership." Now, he's followed up with another divestment that will send U.S. rights to pain med Nucynta to California's Depomed.
The FDA says it will abide by a court ruling stating it has to grant orphan drug exclusivity to Depomed's Gralise. But the agency has drawn a line in the sand, saying it does not intend to extend the same benefit to any other drugmakers under the same circumstances.
On Tuesday, Depomed announced that it won its patent lawsuit against Actavis, which wanted to market a generic version of Depomed's shingles pain drug Gralise. Depomed's shares surged more than 13% in after-hours trading to $14.94.
Mallinckrodt scored FDA approval for its Xartemis XR oxycodone and acetaminophen tablet, known in development as MNK-795, an opioid treatment for acute pain. The approval is also a win for Depomed, which owns the controlled-release technology and collected $10 million in a milestone payment.