Amylin's up for bid. Who'll step in line?

Step right up, Big Pharma bidders. Amylin Pharmaceuticals ($AMLN) is up for auction. Bloomberg reports that the diabetes drug specialist hired Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs to take offers, citing sources close to the process.

Official sources aren't commenting, but word is that Sanofi ($SNY) is eyeing a bid. Other potential bidders, per analysts, include Merck ($MRK), Takeda Pharmaceutical ($TKPHF) and AstraZeneca ($AZN), And, of course, there's Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), whose rejected $22-per-share offer touched off a frenzy of takeover talk--and inspired a lawsuit from activist investor Carl Icahn.

Amylin's diabetes drugs Byetta and Bydureon could add some necessary heft to AstraZeneca's diabetes portfolio. as analysts, particularly Sanford Bernstein's Tim Anderson, have noted. Plus, AstraZeneca could fold its marketing right into its existing sales efforts. On the other hand, Sanofi's diabetes segment could make an Amylin bid less attractive, Bloomberg's sources note; the French drugmaker worries that Byetta could cannibalize its own experimental GLP-1 drug.

Meanwhile, a judge has fast-tracked Icahn's lawsuit, setting a May 10 hearing on his request to delay Amylin's annual meeting, set for May 15. Icahn has also demanded company documents and records about the rejected Bristol-Myers bid. Icahn has a history of pressing drug companies to sell, and he staged a proxy fight at Amylin in 2009, winning representation on its board.

- read the Bloomberg story
- see the New York Times piece
- get more from Reuters