What: Shares of Intercept Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ICPT), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on treating diseases of the liver and intestines, jumped more than 27% as of 2:45 p.m. EST Friday after Reuters reported that the company might be looking to sell itself.
So what: According to "sources familiar with the matter" Intercept has been working with a group of investment bankers recently to "explore the prospect of a sale."
It should be emphasized that this is still a rumor at this point as Intercept declined to comment.
Now what: This isn't the first time that rumors have floated around that Intercept might be a buyout target as roughly a year ago another reported surfaced saying that the company could action itself off as it received interest from a handful of large pharma companies that including Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD).
If Friday's rumors do prove to be true, then Gilead Sciences might be an ideal acquirer for Intercept as it already has a strong position the liver disease markets, so Intercept could be an interesting strategic fit. It's also worth remembering that Gilead Sciences ended 2015 with $26.2 billion in cash, so it has plenty of capital to make an acquisition if it choose to. For comparison, even with today's pop Intercept's current market value is roughly $3 billion.
Regardless of whether this rumor turns out to be true or not Intercept investors should have an exciting year ahead. The FDA is currently reviewing its compound Obeticholic Acid as a treatment for primary biliary cholangitis and it has set a PDUFA date of May 29, 2016. In addition, the FDA will also be holding an advisory committee meeting of April 7, 2016, so shareholders should have a good idea about the drugs chances of approval in a few short months time.