A Wednesday morning report by Bloomberg fits right into growing speculation that Titan Pharmaceuticals (TTNP.OB) will eventually be purchased or partnered before Probuphine reaches market. Titan just recently announced positive Phase III confirmatory results for Probuphine, shortly after resolving issues with the FDA that might have delayed the unblinding of results.
In the Bloomberg report, analysts at UniCredit SpA were cited as speculating that Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc (RBGPF.PK) may sell off its pharmaceutical division next year. Reckitt Benckiser, maker of Nurofen painkillers and other products, lost exclusive rights to Suboxone in the United States a couple of years ago, and is set to face stiff generic competition - including competition from Probuphine.
Probuphine looks to make quick inroads into the treatment of opioid addiction, given the benefits provided by the subcutaneous implant that is the basis of the ProNeura drug-delivery system, and the Bloomberg report speculates that Reckitt Benckiser may look to make a move on Titan to maintain its presence in the opioid addiction market.
With a market cap of barely over a hundred million dollars and a share price of still under two bucks, Titan should still look like an attractive buyout candidate to potential suitors, and could be had for chump change, compared to what Reckitt Benckiser might pull in from a sale of its pharmaceutical division.
Titan also has Probuphine for the treatment of chronic pain in the pipeline and is still raking in quarterly revenue from sales of Vanda's (VNDA) Fanapt, which has been gaining market penetration with the help of deep-pocketed commercial partner Novartis (NVS).
ProNeura has additional potential applications of its own, as many commong drugs start coming off-label over the next few years.
Any potential suitor would most likely have more in mind than just bringing Probuphine to market.
The Bloomberg report doesn't confirm anything, just fuels speculation, but there's little doubt out there in the investment community that Titan is destined for a takeover or partnership.
With positive Probuphine results under the belt, and with growing revenue from Fanapt sales, TTNP continues to be an intriguing pick - and it's only a matter of time, in my opinion, before the two dollar mark is broken for good.
Disclosure: Long TTNP. VFC's Stock House is not compensated to cover Titan Pharmaceuticals.