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Acadia Drug Approval May Entice Biogen, Teva as Buyers

After receiving Food and Drug Administration approval for its Parkinson's disease psychosis drug, Acadia Pharmaceuticals is an attractive target for strategic buyers and could go for as much as $6 billion, analysts say.

The drug, Nuplazid, is used to treat delusions and hallucinations in patients with psychosis caused by Parkinson's disease, a progressive disease that affects the nervous system and is known for causing tremors. Acadia is expected to report earnings today after market close. The consensus earnings per share forecast is a loss of 4 cents per share.

Still, Nuplazid, was described by San Diego-based Acadia as "paradigm-shifting" in a call with analysts Monday morning, is the first in a new class of anti-psychotic drugs called selective serotonin inverse agonist, or SSIAs. The company has yet to set a price for the drug, but noted on the call that it has trained 132 sales people to market the drug to doctors.

"It's certainly a company that is very uncommon in biotech," analyst Charles Duncan of Piper Jaffray said in a phone interview. "It really is a brand new class of drugs."

Having a drug ready for market, and one that's the first among SSIAs, is, in part, what makes Acadia so attractive to strategic buyers.

"This is an asset that would fit into a fair amount of portfolios, especially large pharmas with neurology focus," analyst Ritu Baral of Cowen & Co. said.

Baral's colleague, Ken Cacciatore, said Acadia could sell...