Long cited as a takeover target, rare disease specialist NPS Pharmaceuticals is seeking a buyer, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper reports that Goldman Sachs has started to contact companies to gauge their interest in NPS, which may be available at upwards of $4.5 billion. Shire has regularly been mentioned as a potential purchaser and is on the look-out for acquisitions having had its warchest boosted by a $1.6 billion break-up fee banked after AbbVie pulled out of a proposed merger last year.

NPS currently markets Gattex/Revestive (teduglutide) for short bowel syndrome. It is also waiting to hear from the US Food and Administration about Natpara (recombinant human parathyroid hormone) for the treatment of hypoparathyroidism and a decision is expected by the end of this month.