Shares of Viropharma Inc (NASDAQ:VPHM) soared on Friday amidst speculation that the company could be bought out by one of its competitors. Shares rose as much as 26 percent after it was reported that the pharmaceutical company had hired Goldman Sachs to investigate the possibility of a buyout.

 Viropharma

Sanofi, Shire said to be interested in Viropharma

David Welch, Jeffrey McCracken and Matthew Campbell of Bloomberg report that Viropharma has attracted interest from companies like Sanofi SA (NYSE:SNY) (EPA:SAN)  and Shire PLC (NASDAQ:SHPG) (LON:SHP). They say sources have indicated that Viropharma Inc (NASDAQ:VPHM) is now working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) on a potential auction.

The maker of drugs which treat rare diseases apparently received an unsolicited offer initially, and after that offer was made, Goldman Sachs reportedly looked for other potential buyers for Viropharma. The drug maker’s stock was about $2 billion, but it has since shot up almost to $2.5 billion after the news was announced.

Other deals in the pharmaceutical industry

According to Bloomberg, companies in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields have been seeking acquisitions this year as a way of replacing products with patents that are expiring this year. Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) agreed to buy out Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ONXX) for $10.4 billion earlier this year. Bloomberg data indicates that the value of deals within both of these sectors has surged 15 percent year over year to over $70 billion.

Viropharma Inc (NASDAQ:VPHM)’s sales increased almost 10 percent during the second quarter of the year, climbing to $103.7 million. The drug maker’s Cinryze treatment, which is designed to treat the inflammatory condition hereditary angioedema, was the main driver of its second quarter results.

According to Bloomberg, Viropharma is scheduled to release its third quarter results next month. Bloomberg reports that representatives from Viropharma, Goldman Sachs, Sanofi and Shire declined to comment on the report of a possible deal.