Switzerland’s Nycomed has reportedly asked Goldman Sachs to explore a possible sale of the company which could bring in as much as 10 billion euros.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the situation, said that the privately-held, Zurich-headquartered firm is looking for potential buyers. It is also considering an initial public offering, according to the newspaper.

Nycomed is not commenting on the story and neither is Nordic Capital, which has a 41% stake in the firm. What is certain is that Nycomed is looking to get a commercial partner in the USA for Daxas (roflumilast) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is expected to be filed on both sides of the Atlantic soon.

Aside from Daxas and continuing strong sales of the gastrointestinal drug Protonix (pantoprazole) outside the USA, the attraction of Nycomed lies in its strong prersence in the emerging markets. Last month, chief executive Hakan Bjorklund noted that the company is doing particularly well in Russia and Latin America, a situation which is likely to prompt interest from some big pharma players who are looking outside the traditional markets of the USA and Europe for future growth.

In 2008, Nycomed posted a 1.2% decline in profits to 1.20 billion euros, while turnover slipped 4.3% to 3.35 billion euros due to at-risk launches of generic Protonix in the USA, where the drug was sold by Wyeth.