JERUSALEM Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA.N), the world's largest generics drugmaker, is a leading candidate to buy Irish biopharmaceutical company Amarin (AMRN.O), Israel's Calcalist financial daily reported on Thursday.
Calcalist said British drugmaker AstraZeneca (AZN.L) was also looking to buy Amarin, which has a market value on Nasdaq of $1.6 billion.
A spokeswoman for Israel-based Teva (TEVA.TA) said the company did not comment on rumors. Similarly, a spokeswoman for AstraZeneca said the company did not comment on market speculation.
Earlier this month, Teva's new chief executive, Jeremy Levin, said it was not planning major acquisitions as it placed more emphasis on expanding branded-drug activities.
Teva has said it would unveil a long-term plan to reshape the company on December 11.
AstraZeneca's new CEO Pascal Soriot has acknowledged that deals will be important in rebuilding the company's drug pipeline.
Analysts have speculated that AstraZeneca, one of Europe's top drugmakers, could look at buying mid-sized specialty companies like Forest Laboratories FRX.N and Shire (SHP.L), as well as striking smaller deals for firms such as Amarin.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July approved Amarin's heart drug Vascepa to treat patients with high levels of triglycerides, a blood fat that contributes to heart disease alongside cholesterol. (Reporting by Steven Scheer; Additional reporting by Ben Hirschler in London; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)