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Elan open to further buys but focus still on Tysabri revenue

ELAN chief executive Kelly Martin has said the firm will consider acquisitions of companies with existing revenue streams if suitable candidates are identified.

However, he stressed yesterday following Elan's annual general meeting in Dublin that the primary focus in the medium-term for the group remains the continuing development of income from its Tysabri multiple sclerosis treatment.

"We look at a lot of things all the time. From a revenue point of view, the most tangible short-term benefit to Elan and its shareholders is to focus on getting Tysabri to where it should be," he said.

"That does not mean that if an opportunity came up . . . that was product-related, we wouldn't at least look at it."

However, Mr Martin pointed out that from a financial and strategic point of view, Tysabri has "enormous headroom" to grow and should be management's "main focus".

Elan expects the drug to eventually capture a 20pc share of the multiple sclerosis drug treatment market.

This week Elan invested $20m (€14m) for a 24pc stake in US-based drug development firm Proteostasis, while earlier this month it sold its drug technology unit for almost $1bn.

Tysabri, which will this year generate revenue of about $1bn for Elan, is effectively its only revenue-generating drug. Next year, final phase data on a drug developed to treat Alzheimer's Disease will be made available.

Mr Kelly, who is planning to step down as chief executive next year, said he has no desire to be CEO of another listed company.


He and other board members, including former chairman Kyran McLaughlin -- who is still a non-executive director at Elan -- have been the target of stinging criticism over the past two years from shareholder activists who expressed concerns ranging from the use of company funds for private aircraft to overall strategy.

"You can't live your life on critics," said Mr Martin. "I respect people having different opinions. I don't take it personally, usually, but I am a human being."

He added that Elan now has a lot of cash and science prospects, but that he understood sometimes that shareholders get frustrated.

"You either live with it as a CEO, or you leave," he said. "People can judge how I did three years from now, and that's fine, because I'll be fishing."

Elan chairman Bob Ingram, who took up his role in January, said he was in no rush to find a replacement for Mr Martin.

Irish Independent