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Glaxo's fight for Human Genome Sciences gets nasty

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British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline is dropping the cordial overtures toward its takeover target and occasional business partner Human Genome Sciences Inc.

Instead, Glaxo plans to launch a hostile $2.6-billion tender offer this week, putting its quest to swallow the Rockville, Md. medicine maker into shareholders’ hands.

“There is clear strategic and financial logic to this combination and HGS shareholders should have the opportunity to decide for themselves on the merits of the offer,” Glaxo said in a statement.

Human Genome has had “a reasonable amount of time” to look over other options, according to Glaxo, which added that it will not participate in HG’s current strategic alternatives review process.

The London firm originally made a move for Human Genome on April 11, offering $13 a share. Human Genome made the proposition public on April 19. The two companies have cooperated to develop a suite of treatments, including lupus medication Benlysta, diabetes drug albiglutide and darapladib, which could be used to limit the thickening of artery walls.

Glaxo’s current bid for the company remains the same – an 81% premium on Human Genome’s April 18 closing price of $7.17 a share. On Wednesday, a Human Genome statement said that the offer “does not reflect the value inherent” in the company.

Sounds a lot like what San Diego biotech company Illumina Inc. told Roche not long before the Swiss drugmaker dropped its hostile acquisition bid.

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