(Adds background on MediGene, Pfizer CFO comments on M&A)
By Patricia Nann and Frank Siebelt
FRANKFURT May 14 U.S. drugmaker Pfizer (PFE.N)
is exploring acquisition possibilities in the German biotech
sector and has held talks with the management of Munich-based
MediGene MDGGn.DE, two industry sources said.
"Pfizer is looking at it," one of the sources told Reuters.
Pfizer and MediGene declined to comment.
MediGene shares rose 13 percent to 6.3 euros after the news
on Wednesday, valuing the group -- which specialises in cancer
treatment -- at around 210 million euros ($325 million).
For Pfizer, the world's biggest drugs company, MediGene
would be an easily digested acquisition and the New York-based
company has a past history of buying up smaller companies with
promising products or technologies.
Pfizer Chief Financial Officer Frank D'Amelio said on
Tuesday Pfizer's recent focus was on smaller transactions, and
he did not feel obliged to buy mid-size drugmakers, in the $10
billion to $15 billion price range, as some analysts have urged.
Medigene is the only German biotech firm with two products
on the market -- prostrate cancer drug Eligard and genital warts
treatment Veregen. European approval for skin drug Oracea is
expected in a few weeks.
It also has a promising new product pipeline, including the
pancreatic cancer drug Endotag, which it views as a potential
The sources said Pfizer was interested not just in Endotag
but was looking at the whole company. Endotag could generate
annual sales of more than 1 billion euros, according to
"Several leading drug companies have already expressed
strong interest and started talks with us on being partners for
Endotag," MediGene Chief Executive Peter Heinrich said in early
Overall Medigene sees sales potential for drugs in clinical
development at over 3 billion euros. This comes on top of peak
annual sales of more than 100 million euros for Eligard and over
150 million euros for Veregen.
(Additional reporting by Patricia Gugau and Ben Hirschler;
editing by Sue Thomas)