Valeant's newly expanded Relistor franchise draws interest from potential buyers

Rumors have been flying about which assets Valeant may sell off as it looks to drum up money to pay down its massive debt pile. And now, word has it that Relistor could be one of them.

The constipation therapy has drawn interest from potential buyers, Bloomberg reports, though it’s unclear whether Valeant ($VRX) actually intends to sell it. Doing so could bring in between $400 million and $500 million, the news service notes.

Valeant has been counting on Relistor to help it challenge rival AstraZeneca ($AZN) in the opioid-induced constipation arena, and last month the Canadian drugmaker’s product got a competitive boost. The FDA approved an oral formulation of the therapy, erasing AZ’s edge with its own pill, Movantik.

Analysts still aren’t necessarily sure Relistor can bring in the blockbuster revenues Salix has predicted, though. Evercore ISI’s Umer Raffat, for one, said in July that he’s modeling about $250 million in peak sales for the entire franchise.

Relistor isn’t the only member of Valeant’s portfolio that’s potentially on the block. CEO Joseph Papa has spoken out the benefit about potential divestments, adding that in addition to raising funds, jettisoning products could also help reduce the complexity of the company’s business--an important step as it looks to improve financial transparency. So far, reports have listed Egyptian drugmaker Amoun, 2013 skincare buy Obagi Medical Products, laggard cancer vaccine Provenge and other assets as potentially up for grabs.

Meanwhile, the embattled company--which has faced pricing pushback, channel-stuffing allegations and other hurdles in addition to its debt problems--said Monday that it would be shaking up its top ranks. The company has brought on a new EVP and general counsel and an SVP of business strategy and communications, and its expanded the roles of some of its top execs, too. 

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Special Report: The most influential people in biopharma today - 2016 - J. Michael Pearson - Valeant

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