The world's largest generics drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR)(NYSE:TEVA) is ahead in the race to buy Ireland's Amarin Corporation plc (ADR)(NASDAQ:AMRN), according to report in the Israeli financial daily Calcalist.
The other contender in the race, AstraZeneca plc (ADR)(NYSE:AZN) is also looking to buy Amarin, the report said.
Amarin, which has a market value of $1.6 billion, recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its heart drug Vascepa, which is used to treat patients with high levels of triglycerides.
Both Teva and AstraZeneca said that they would not comment on rumours and market speculation, according to a report by Reuters.
All this talk of takeovers comes at a time when Teva's new chief executive Jeremy Levin went on record earlier this month to say that his company was not planning any major acquisitions as it was busy expanding and consolidating its branded-drugs business.
AstraZeneca's newly appointed chief executive Pascal Soriot has however acknowledged that acquisition deals will be an important strategy in building the company's drug pipeline.
Analysts have speculated that AstraZeneca, one of Europe's top drug makers, could look at buying mid-sized specialty companies like Forest Laboratories (FRX.N) and Shire (SHP.L), as well as striking smaller deals for firms such as Amarin, the Reuters report said.