Biogen Idec, which makes the multiple sclerosis drugs Avonex and Tysabri, said on
Friday that it has put itself up for sale.
The company , which has a market capitalization of $19.3 billion, said it hired Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch to help find a buyer and that it has already received "expressions of interest."
One interested party, Biogen said, is billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who recently took control of the biotechnology company ImClone Systems.
"Potential suitors will likely be the big pharmaceuticals companies, as well as those that already have partnerships with Biogen," said Damien Conover, an analyst at Morningstar.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based biotechnology company said its board of directors has authorized management to evaluate whether third parties would have an interest in acquiring the company at a price and on terms that would represent a better value for shareholders than having the company continue as a stand-alone entity.
Biogen's shares rose nearly 16 percent in extended trading after the market closed.