Shire , the UK’s third largest pharmaceutical firm, could make a $2bn approach for US-based Cubist Pharmaceuticals, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Cubist is famed for its antibiotic Cubicin, which is used in the treatment of skin infections and MRSA.

Shire is alleged to have approached Cubist last month with a $44.5 per share offer, with Morgan Stanley advising the company.

The approach marks an increase in activity for Shire following its recent acquisition of Advanced Biohealing , with the company keen to stack acquisitions to fend off any possible takeover approaches themselves.

Cubist is thought to be a target for other companies, however, following a patent settlement dispute with Teva over Cubicin, reducing generic competition threat for the drug.