By Colin Kellaher

Cytokinetics, which earlier this year was reportedly near an agreement to be acquired by Swiss drugmaker Novartis, on Wednesday confirmed that it held good-faith takeover talks with an unnamed suitor that opted to not move forward with a deal.

The Wall Street Journal in January reported that Novartis had been closing in on a deal to buy Cytokinetics and its promising heart drug aficamten but had backed away from its pursuit of the South San Francisco, Calif., company.

Speaking at an investor conference Wednesday, Cytokinetics Chief Executive Robert Blum said the company's board was supportive of moving forward on a potential acquisition on substantially the terms the other party had communicated and that the company believed would be mutually acceptable.

Blum said Cytokinetics' board and management would have supported an actionable takeover proposal in the best interests of the company's shareholders, and that the company's leadership "would never stand in the way of a value-maximizing transaction."

Rumors of a potential takeover of Cytokinetics began swirling ahead of an anticipated readout from Phase 3 studies of aficamten in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the most common genetic heart disease. Cytokinetics shares took flight in late December after the company reported successful study data.

During the company's fourth-quarter earnings call in late February, Blum noted that while Cytokinetics had been rumored to be an acquisition target since it reported the Phase 3 data, "we did not initiate nor do we have a sale process ongoing."

Blum on Wednesday said he wanted to give shareholders as full a picture as possible in light of the reports about confidential deal talks, adding that his comments "will be our final statements on this matter."

Cytokinetics shares, which hit a 52-week high of $110.25 in January, have since fallen sharply and were recently changing hands at $52.53, up 8.5%.

Write to Colin Kellaher at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

06-05-24 1126ET