Bristol Myers Squibb, after passing on Acceleron, now eyes Aurinia takeout: Bloomberg

BMS
BMS is weighing a purchase of Lupkynis maker Aurinia, which as of Friday afternoon had a market value of about $2.8 billion. (Bristol Myers Squibb)

It wasn't long ago that Bristol Myers Squibb ran the numbers on potentially buying Acceleron Pharma, but that deal didn't come together, and the biotech eventually sold to Merck for $11.5 billion. Now, BMS has its eyes on another target, Bloomberg reports.

BMS has approached Aurinia Pharma, which makes oral lupus nephritis treatment Lupkynis, about a potential buyout, according to the news service. As of Friday afternoon, Aurinia's market value was about $2.8 billion. BMS could ultimately decide against a potential deal, Bloomberg pointed out.

A BMS representative told Bloomberg the company wouldn't comment on the rumor. A spokesperson for Aurinia declined to comment, according to Bloomberg.

Aside from Lupkynis, Aurinia has two early-stage candidates to treat autoimmune diseases.

The news comes after BMS reportedly engaged in buyout negotiations with Acceleron Pharma. After Merck made an offer to buy Acceleron, the biotech approached "Party A" to gauge its interest, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing recently showed. "Party A" was BMS, Bloomberg reported last week. 

RELATED: Bristol Myers Squibb engaged in Acceleron buyout talks but couldn't justify the price: report

After running the numbers, BMS decided that Acceleron's pulmonary arterial hypertension candidate sotatercept "failed to support an acquisition proposal" at the company's market value, the filing said.

BMS is Acceleron's partner on the FDA-approved anemia drug Reblozyl, and it holds a stake in the company through its prior Celgene buyout. The drugmaker is planning to tender its shares to Merck, Bloomberg reported.