Clovis Oncology looking to sell itself -sources

Sept 17 Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:50pm EDT

Sept 17 (Reuters) - Clovis Oncology Inc, a cancer-focused drugmaker, is considering selling itself, three people familiar with the deal told Reuters this week.

Clovis has tapped Credit Suisse AG and J.P. Morgan to help find a buyer, according to one of the sources, who wished to remain anonymous because the source was not permitted to speak to the media.

Bloomberg first reported news of the possible deal earlier on Tuesday, after which shares of Clovis, which has a market value of about $2 billion, jumped 21 percent. The shares later fell back to trade at $72.03, up nearly 7 percent on the Nasdaq.

Clovis spokeswoman Breanna Burkart said the sources cited in the Bloomberg report were not from within the company. On whether Clovis was exploring options, Burkart said the company does not comment on market rumors.

Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan both declined to comment.

Excluding Tuesday's gains, shares of the Boulder, Colorado-based company had soared more than 300 percent since the beginning of this year, in line with a spate of positive news about the company's cancer drugs pipeline.

In June, Clovis stock doubled in value after initial results of an early-stage trial of its experimental lung cancer drug showed a reduction in patient tumor sizes.

The biotechnology sector has been rife with dealmaking over the last several months. Cancer, in particular, has attracted increased investment from biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in recent years as breakthroughs in understanding the genetic basis of the disease have paved the way for development of several new and innovative medicines.

Acquisitions in the oncology sector include the $886 million buyout of Astex Pharmaceuticals Inc by Japan's Otsuka Holdings Co earlier this month.

In August, Amgen Inc agreed to buy Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc for $10.4 billion, the fifth-largest biotechnology deal in history. (Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui in Bangalore and Jessica Toonkel in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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