Amsterdam: US drugmaker Wyeth has withdrawn from talks to take over Dutch biotechnology firm Crucell, sending Crucell shares down as much as 23% on Monday.
Shares in Crucell -- one of the world’s few remaining independent vaccine makers -- had already fallen last week on fears that merger talks between Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker, and Wyeth could scupper the talks between Wyeth and Crucell.
Sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Sunday that Pfizer was close to finalising the $68 billion purchase.
Crucell shares fell to €11.90 by 0807 GMT, knocking about €230 million ($298 million) off its market capitalisation, to trade slightly above the levels seen before the talks between Wyeth were made public on 7 January.
“We believe takeover speculation will likely remain a key driver of Crucell’s share price going forward, but the likelihood of such a scenario has become more remote in the short term,” Rabo Securities analyst Fabian Smeets said in a note.
Crucell in November posted its first-ever quarterly profit, boosted by sales of its vaccines and cost savings, and raised its 2008 sales outlook.
The Dutch company’s sales have been fuelled by strong growth in its paediatric vaccines, especially Quinvaxem, a vaccine cocktail for the childhood diseases diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and hepatitis B.