Celltrion says reports of stake sale to AstraZeneca inaccurate

August 1, 2013 9:12 AM

Celltrion Inc., the developer of several biosimilars in South Korea, issued a press release stating that, newspaper reports yesterday it may be bought by AstraZeneca Plc. contain inaccurate information.

The first news came from Korea’s Financial News; the paper said that, Celltrion hooked AstraZeneca’s interest after it began to cast around for a merger deal a few months ago. The paper reported 2 days before that, Celltrion is in final talks with AstraZeneca over a controlling stake sale, citing investment bankers it didn’t name.

Newspaper reports about a stake sale to AstraZeneca are inaccurate, Incheon-based Celltrion said in a statement on its website yesterday. The company is discussing a stake sale with its financial adviser JPMorgan Chase & Co. and no details have been decided, according to the statement, which didn’t say whether Celltrion is in talks with AstraZeneca.

Celltrion was one of two companies, and the developer of the monoclonal antibody biosimilar to win European backing in June to sell the first copies of Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade, a $6 billion therapy for arthritis.

Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung Jin plans to sell his stake in Celltrion and two affiliates to a “multinational” pharmaceutical company, the drugmaker said in an e-mailed statement in April, without giving further details.

AstraZeneca doesn’t comment on market speculation, spokeswoman Ayesha Bharmal said by phone to Bloomberg in London.

AstraZeneca has been scouting small to mid-sized acquisitions as its best-selling drugs face generic competition. Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said he would pursue deals of $3 billion to $4 billion and would consider larger ones if they were a good fit.


Source: Celltrion Inc, Financial News, Bloomberg Business News

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