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Jan 29 Bankrupt drugmaker Dendreon Corp
has reached a stalking-horse deal with Canada's
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc to sell the
worldwide rights to its cancer vaccine, Provenge, and certain
assets for $296 million.
The deal is subject to higher and better bids and extended
the bid deadline to Feb. 10 for interested parties to
participate in an auction, Dendreon said on Thursday.
A stalking-horse bidder often helps draw others to an
auction by setting a floor price, but they also require the
bankrupt company to commit to paying break-up and other fees if
the stalking horse is outbid.
Seattle-based Dendreon filed for bankruptcy protection in
November, after sales of Provenge fell short of expectations and
left the company deep in debt.
After the drug's approval by U.S. regulators in 2010, hopes
were high that Provenge would become a blockbuster. But adoption
of the drug, an injection to reprogram the immune system to
attack advanced prostate cancer cells, was hindered by its hefty
price tag and uncertainty over insurance coverage.
"We are confident that this process will result in a strong
new owner for Provenge, and that patients will continue to
receive treatments with no disruption moving forward," Dendreon
Chief Executive Thomas Amick said in a statement.
Laval, Quebec-based Valeant failed in November to buy
Allergan Inc, when the latter accepted a higher offer
from Actavis Plc.
Valeant said last month that it was targeting acquisitions
in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. It also
wants to build up its U.S. dental business and its dermatology,
surgical and ophthalmology lines.
"We believe that oncology has similar characteristics to our
current therapeutic portfolios ... We have not previously found
an economic way to enter this market," Valeant CEO Michael
Pearson said in a statement.
Valeant said Provenge had realized revenue of about $300
million in 2014.
Dendreon said in court documents in December that more than
40 parties had signed nondisclosure agreements, indicating
interest in bidding on its assets.
Assuming additional qualified bids are submitted, an auction
would be held on Feb. 12, Dendreon said.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is Valeant's legal adviser.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is serving as
Dendreon's legal adviser while AlixPartners is its financial
(Reporting by Supriya Kurane in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar