Ashurst prepares Protherics for potential takeover

Leading UK biotechnology company Protherics has called on Ashurst as it embarks on takeover talks.

The company saw its share price leap 44 per cent after announcing it had received several approaches from unnamed parties.

Any deal would have to value Protherics at more than its market price of around £130m.

Ashurst corporate partners Andrew Edge and Michael Johns are advising on the bids, along with IP partner Dominic Batchelor.

Possible bidders include AstraZeneca, which has a licensing agreement with Protherics for the development of flagship product CytoFab – a blood poisoning treatment.

When the licensing agreement was signed AstraZeneca was represented by Linklaters, but has also previously called on Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Another potential suitor has been named as UK biotech company BTG, which is usually represented by Allen & Overy.

The biotechnology sector has seen an upsurge in activity in recent months. In July, UK vaccine maker Acambis was bought by France’s Sanofi-Aventis for £276m.

Acambis called on Morrison & Foester, led by London corporate partner Paul Claydon, while Sanofi-Aventis was represented by Slaughter and May partner William Underhill.