Friday, April 27, 2012
Buoyed by partner, Xoma now at center of takeover talk
Xoma Corp.’s latest promise may be its last. The Berkeley biotech drug developer — long on expectations, but short on delivering its own drugs to market — over the past eight months has brought on new leadership and cut costs. What’s more, a year-old partnership is helping to turn a once-failed drug toward a wide array of other uses. But where that partner, Les Laboratoires Servier, has given Xoma a measure of stability since a high-profile diabetes drug failure last year, the collaboration also has fueled speculation that the French drug maker ultimately will buy Xoma. Those rumors have sent Xoma’s stock price soaring more than 170 percent from a 52-week low to about $2.85 per share. Excuse Xoma shareholders, however, if they get a queasy been-there/done-that vibe when it comes to Xoma’s plans.