This is not to say with absolute conviction that Vivus won't be acquired quickly if Qnexa is approved. It's just that such a deal would be unusual. More likely, Vivus launches the weight-loss drug on its own, and if sales boom over the next 2-3 years, a suitor may come calling.
One more thought: What about Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN), which only recently launched a new diabetes drug Bydureon but also reportedly spurned a takeout offer from Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY - Get Report)?
In some ways, Amylin is similar to Clinical Data, which supports the thesis that drug companies can be acquired while products are in the early launch phase. But in some other ways, Amylin is also an exception. Bydureon is not so much a brand new drug as an extended release formulation of an existing drug, Byetta, that Amylin has sold for years. In this way, Amylin is more like Icos or ImClone -- attracting a suitor well after commercial launch.
Share your thoughts about the timing of biotech takeovers in the comments section below, especially if you can think of other deals which occurred while drugs were either under FDA review or just recently launched.--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.
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