With $496M CNS sale, Novartis joins other Pharma companies casting off tired meds

The latest Big Pharma to join the asset-sale party is Novartis, which is in talks to offload some of its older central nervous system (CNS) drugs, including Ritalin for attention deficit disorder and Exelon patch for Alzheimer’s. The portfolio could bring in as much as $496 million, and potential buyers include Endo, Mallinckrodt and generic drug makers. Novartis is far from the only company thinking along those lines. AstraZeneca, in fact, has turned asset selling into a cottage industry, casting off the international rights to two heart-disease drugs for $500 million earlier this year, and before that raising nearly $1 billion in a string of out-licensing deals.

Sanofi weighs Actelion offer to compete with J&J’s $27B

Reports are floating around claiming that Sanofi is offering up to $27 billion to a so-far unresponsive Actelion that is being pursued by J&J. Sources claim that Sanofi is weighing a counterbid, which presumably would have to top $27 billion. Sanofi is working with financial advisers on a potential offer, and it has told Actelion that it’s interested. It hasn’t yet made a formal move or even decided whether to make an offer, However. Sanofi hasn’t yet commented on the reports. J&J is said to be aiming to strike a deal before Christmas, so the process could move quickly from here if nothing else happens. And with a $27 billion price tag, among the largest of 2016, Actelion will be a closely watched target along the way.

Valeant and Takeda’s $10B Salix deal talks scuttled by price squabbles

Talks have broken down at the last minute because of disagreements over price for Valeant’s $10 billion plan to sell its Salix business to Takeda. Takeda, which has reportedly tried multiple times to get its hands on Salix—first as a bidder in the auction Valeant eventually won, and earlier this year with an offer to buy the whole Valeant company—wanted to shell out a lower sum for the GI business. The portfolio has underperformed lately, as many of Valeant’s key meds have, compounding the problems of a company that’s already faced channel-stuffing allegations, a slew of investigations, political pricing pushback and debt-default worries from investors. While there’s still a chance talks could be restarted, Valeant has already decided to move forward with plans to build Salix up on its own—and it’s already announced some of those plans to the public, too.

Astellas scouts pipeline buys for post-Xtandi future

Having built a fortune on a lucrative Xtandi partnering deal, Astellas is scouting for a new round of assets to deliver growth in its next chapter. The Japanese drug maker is joining the likes of larger companies such as Gilead, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi in biopharma’s active M&A arena. Astellas is scouting for buys in immuno-oncology, Bloomberg reported, and has identified muscular diseases and ophthalmology as potential expansion areas. It’s also working to refocus and sell assets that aren’t central to its plans. Facing a 2019 patent cliff, Astellas has about $3.6 billion in cash to help finance one or more acquisitions.