GlaxoSmithKline re-enters talks to buy Serono

Swiss biotech company Serono, which failed to generate a takeover bid at its $15 million asking price, has resumed talks with GlaxoSmithKline over a potential deal for less money, The Wall Street Journal reported today. Serono initially attracted interest from several of the world’s top pharmas but potential suitors, including Glaxo, dropped out of the auction before the Jan. 20 deadline, mostly citing the asking price, sources told The Journal. Late in 2005, the company hired investment bank Goldman Sachs Group “to explore various strategic alternatives for the company.” Any buyer would most likely be interested in Serono's multiple sclerosis drug Rebif (interferon beta-1a), which had sales of $1 billion in 2004. The company also sells drugs to treat infertility and is attempting to develop 30 new medicines for cancer, inflammatory diseases and other therapeutic areas.