Will Pfizer buy Protalix?

Pfizer representatives have visited Protalix Biotherapeutics in Carmiel in the past few days.

Will US pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) buy Israeli company Protalix Biotherapeutics Inc. (AMEX:PLX)? Representatives of Protalix have visited Protalix’s plant in Carmiel in the past few days. The visit came two weeks after Protalix announced it the success of its Phase III trial for Uplyso, its treatment for Guacher’s disease. Protalix is controlled by Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-listed company Biocell (TASE: BCEL) (formerly Orazit Ltd.).

The visit by the Pfizer representatives is especially interesting in the light of rumors that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) is also considering buying Protalix. One of the reasons for connecting Protalix with Teva is that Teva chairman Eli Hurvitz is also chairman of Protalix and owns a stake in it via the Pontifax fund, while Teva vice chairman Phillip Frost owns 9.9% of Protalix. For the time being, however, this is speculation.

Pfizer, the world's largest drug company, has a market cap of $115 billion, and some $50 billion cash. Protalix’s market cap is $725 million. It has developed a unique method of producing therapeutic proteins from plant cells.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 1, 2009

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

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