Cancer Drugmaker Tesaro Is Said to Explore Potential Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Tesaro Inc., a drugmaker whose shares tumbled this month after disclosing disappointing clinical trial results, is exploring a sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Waltham, Massachusetts-based company is working with financial advisers after receiving takeover interest, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Advisers have also begun contacting other potential suitors, they said.

No decision has been made and the company could opt to remain independent, they said.

A representative for Tesaro declined to comment.

Tesaro’s share drop has made it more affordable to potential acquirers focused on cancer treatments.

“A company like Gilead that’s been expanding their oncology efforts would make a lot of sense,” Wedbush Securities Inc. analyst David Nierengarten said in a phone interview. “But at these prices, it could be just about anyone with an oncology focus looking to get a product tucked into their portfolio.”

Tesaro’s shares, which rose as much as 44 percent Friday, closed up more than 31 percent to $34.96 in New York trading, giving the company a market value of about $1.9 billion.

The shares had fallen to a four-year low on Nov. 9, after the company shared results from a clinical trial at a conference that showed only a handful of patients responded to an experimental cancer drug cocktail.

Its shares were down 68 percent this year through Thursday, as its lead cancer drug Zejula struggles to gain traction amid tight competition from AstraZeneca Plc and Clovis Oncology Inc.

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