January 18, 2009 / 12:06 PM / 10 years ago

Denmark's Lundbeck interested in Elan - report

DUBLIN, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Danish pharmaceutical group Lundbeck (LUN.CO) is interested in acquiring Irish biotechnology firm Elan ELN.I, the Sunday Independent newspaper reported, without citing any sources.

Elan said this week it had hired Citigroup to conduct a strategic review that could lead to a sale or merger of the company, sending its shares up 16 percent to a 12-week high.

The move follows criticism from major investors about the company’s direction, including a call from one big shareholder for Chief Executive Kelly Martin to step down.

Elan’s stock has fallen by two thirds over the past six months amid concern over the safety of its multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri and disappointing results from a trial of its experimental Alzheimer’s medicine.

The group, which has a market value of around 3 billion euros, said a range of alternatives for its future could include a minority investment or strategic alliance, a merger or a sale. It also said it was committed to completing the strategic review as promptly as practicable.

A number of large pharmaceutical companies are currently looking to acquisitions in biotech to boost their pipelines of new drugs and sustain future revenues as older blockbusters lose patent protection.

editing by John Stonestreet

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