Rumors focus on Teva acquisition of Protalix

Protalix CEO; We will only sell if we receive an exceptional offer we cannot refuse.

Rumors that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq:TEVA; TASE:TEVA) will acquire Protalix Biotherapeutics Inc. (AMEX:PLX) have become more persistent in recent days. Earlier this month Protalix reported successful results in its Phase III trial for the drug it is developing for Gaucher's disease.

On Friday a US website that specializes in capital market rumors reported that Teva wants to acquire Protalix for $20 per share, compared with the market price of $8.4 per share. The market was not impressed by the rumors and Protalix share fell 3.5% on Friday.

Interviewed by "Globes" Protalix CEO David Aviezer said that the company had no plans to be sold at present unless it receives an exceptional offer that it cannot refuse and at present there was no such offer on the table. However, he said that Protalix is seeking a strategic partner to market its drug and Teva is a reasonable candidate, although there is no concrete information that it is the only potential candidate.

Teva would have an advantage in marketing the Gaucher's drug because Israel would be one of the leading consumers of the Protalix treatment because of the high incidence of the disease among Jews. Teva has no investment in Protalix but relations are very good because they share the same chairman - Eli Hurvitz. They also have two joint projects.

Although the acquisition is highly logical for Teva, it may well be that Protalix is asking a price that is not worth paying for just one product. However, strategic cooperation at present could lead to a sale in the future.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on October 25, 2009

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2009

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