Shire's growth could woo Big Pharma offers

The Irish drugmaker Shire may want to stay independent. But it may have trouble doing so, Bloomberg reports. Analysts have put the company on their lists of most-likely-to-be-acquired drugmakers, and with Big Pharma in dire need of new revenue sources, Shire's strong sales could prove irresistible.

Just take a look at Shire's expectations for Vyvanse, its ADHD drug. CEO Angus Russell is looking at beefing up Vyvanse with new indications in schizophrenia, depression, binge eating and daytime sleepiness, Reuters reports. And already, without those new uses, Shire has reported a 31 percent increase in Vyvanse sales for the first quarter. "The summation of these additional indications is a multiple factor bigger than the size of the ADHD business we've had historically," Russell said. "Each one is a $1 or $2 billion opportunity, something in that range certainly, and we've said there are three or four indications."

Add to that the success Shire has lately seen with its rare disease drugs, and the company looks pretty appetizing, analysts told Bloomberg. "Shire stands out like a sore thumb," Matrix Corporate Capital's Navid Malik told Bloomberg. "The big pharma companies have issues with generics and Shire is sitting there saying they have a target of 15 percent revenue growth. How can a pharma company ignore that?"

Russell says Shire's shareholders "are pretty happy with life," Bloomberg reports. "We have great prospects for the future by ourselves," he said. But Russell also recognizes that Shire's "standout performance in an industry that's struggling to find growth" may attract buyout interest. "On behalf of our shareholders obviously we always have to entertain approaches that are significantly value-enhancing," he said.

- check out the Bloomberg article
- see the news from Reuters