New Allergan talk: Sanofi, GSK come courting

Every few months or so, Allergan pops up in the rumor mill. This time it's GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Aventis who've been tagged as suitors for the company. The speculation over a Glaxo deal was so strong earlier this week that it pushed up Allergan stock by 4 percent.

So why the fervor for Allergan? In Sanofi's case, sources told Pharmawire, it's Allergan's products for eye and ear problems, plus cosmetic drugs, including those for hair loss. (The sources said a smaller deal for similar meds might be easier to pull off, though.) But Pharmawire also speculates that it's CEO Chris Viehbacher who's enamored with Allergan. Last year, Allergan turned down an informal deal proposal from GSK--and Viehbacher was Glaxo's president for North American pharmaceuticals at the time. Now that he's at Sanofi, he's still eyeing Allergan's considerable assets. Or so the talk goes.

For Glaxo, Allergan would give it an entree into the medical-device market, particularly breast implants and gastric bands for weight-loss surgery, BusinessWeek reports. And it would beef up Glaxo's consumer products and pharma portfolio as well. Pharmawire also points out that Glaxo is a marketing partner on Allergan's blockbuster Botox.

Meanwhile, Allergan chief David Pyott compares his company to a woman everyone wants to date. "We're always in the bankers' books," he told BusinessWeek. "I always say, it's better to be attractive than ugly." Just how much that attraction will bring remains to be seen.

- read the Pharmawire piece
- check out the article in BusinessWeek

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