3 IN. DI LETTURA
(Recasts; adds analyst and company comments; updates share movement)
By Varsha Tickoo
BANGALORE, June 10 (Reuters) - BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc BPAX.O said it hired Deutsche Bank Securities Inc to review strategic alternatives for the company, including a possible sale.
"We hired DB (Deutsche Bank) to formalize a process based on ongoing conversations with the industry," BioSante Chief Executive Stephen Simes said in an e-mail.
BioSante is developing products focused on sexual health. Its lead product is LibiGel, a testosterone gel intended to restore loss of sexual desire in women. LibiGel is currently in late-stage development.
Oppenheimer & Co analyst Kevin DeGeeter said a sale of the company was more likely than a partnership for LibiGel. DeGeeter, who rates the stock "outperform" with a $9 price target, said the company's other programs were not as attractive.
BioSante earlier developed a gel for menopausal hot flashes called Elestrin, which is sold in the United States by Bradley Pharmaceuticals. BioSante's other products are under development and include contraceptive and sexual disorder products.
DeGeeter said he estimated BioSante could be bought for $10.50 to $11 a share, which is more than double the stock's Monday closing price of $4.21. Potential buyers could be Watson Pharmaceuticals WPI.N and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), he said.
"In our opinion, a deal might be struck before year-end," the analyst said in a note to clients.
BioSante plans to file a marketing approval application for LibiGel in female sexual dysfunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010, with a potential launch in 2011, CEO Simes said.
"The (LibiGel) trials are progressing well. Subject recruitment is going very well into our three Phase III clinical trials," Simes said.
Shares of Lincolnshire, Illinois-based BioSante were up 3 percent at $4.33 in morning trade on Nasdaq. They had touched a high of $4.60 earlier. Before Tuesday's gains, the stock had risen more than 11 percent this year. (Editing by Deepak Kannan)