Novartis

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, the Swiss drugmaker, is in talks to buy certain operations from Ireland's

Elan

(ELN)

, according to a report from London's

Sunday Times

.

The sale would include biotechnology company Elan's flagship multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri and its Alzheimer's disease pipeline, the newspaper said.

A "well-placed source" confirmed the talks but added that the "complexity of the deal made a decision some way off," the

Sunday Times

reported.

Strategic talks reportedly were held in May between

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Bristol-Myers Squibb

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and Elan, but they broke down in the early stages.

Elan markets Tysabri with

Biogen Idec

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. The company also is developing a high-profile experimental drug for Alzheimer's disease in partnership with

Wyeth

(WYE)

.

Back in January, Elan hired

Citigroup

as an adviser to review alternatives, including a minority investment, an alliance, or a merger or sale of the company.