US drugmaker Depomed explores sale

Drug maker Depomed Inc is preparing to put itself up for sale, just a year after it fought off a hostile takeover bid from Horizon Pharma Plc, Reuters yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The potential move comes after activist investor Starboard Value, which holds a near 10-per cent stake in Depomed, asked the California-based company to explore a sale.

Depomed, which has a market cap of $1.3 billion, is working with investment bank Morgan Stanley on the sale, the report said.

Depomed is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on drugs to treat pain and neurology-related disorders. Its products include Nucynta for management of pain, Gralise for postherpetic neuralgia, Cambia for acute migraine and Zipor, a non-steroidal drug for pain in adults, etc.

Its Glumetza drug has been approved for the treatment of type II diabetes in adults, and is sold in the US by Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

It has also developed and licensed a unique drug-delivery technology called Acuform – a patented oral-delivery technology that allows targeted extended release of pharmaceutical compounds into the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Early last year, it bought the rights to Nucynta from Johnson & Johnson for $1.05 billion.

Depomed is embroiled in a court battle with several generics manufacturers that could potentially extend the patent life for some versions of Nucynta to as late as 2029. Nucynta is expected to enjoy protection through at least 2023, the report added.

Horizon Pharma first tabled its $3 billion offer in May 2015 and went hostile with its offer in July after being rejected. Depomed later adopted a poison pill to block the bid.