Several other major drug companies were interested in buying MedImmune, including Merck,Eli Lilly and possibly Novartis, CNBC’s David Faber reported Tuesday.
"In fact," Faber said, "while Merck's board may have stepped in to prevent managment from winning the bidding, Merck was the company that started Medimmune on the road to a sale, delivering a letter to the company in late February which stated its hope to buy the biotech company for $47 a share, say people familiar with the matter."
AstraZeneca agreed Monday to buy MedImmune for $58 a share, or more than $15 billion, the biggest transaction since the creation of the Anglo-Swedish drugs group in 1999.
The all-cash deal is the boldest move yet by AstraZeneca Chief Executive David Brennan as he seeks to bolster the company's drug portfolio following a series of product setbacks.
Faber also reported that two companies known to be looking for acquisitions – Pfizer and Glaxo, were not interested in MedImmune.
Still, "judging from what companies were interested in buying Medimmune, it seems that biotechnology will remain an area of interest for large pharma, " Faber said.
That doesn't mean that there will be a "torrent of biotech deals," however, Faber said.
“For one thing, there aren’t that many biotech companies or size or with a product portfolio that makes them attractive targets,” Faber said. “After Celgene, Genzyme and Biogen, it gets tougher to name potential targets.”