Amgen Inc could pay more than $10 billion for Swiss biotech firm Actelion Ltd without hurting its 2011 earnings, but the deal is unlikely to happen given the lack of business overlap that would allow for cost savings, according to an analyst.

We don't see the synergies or strategic basis for it, Sanford Bernstein biotechnology analyst Geoffrey Porges, who evaluated the potential for the deal in a research note, said in a telephone interview on Friday.

Amgen, the world's largest biotechnology company, has said it is eyeing acquisition opportunities overseas as it looks to spend billions of dollars in offshore cash that would otherwise be subject to heavy taxation were it to be repatriated.

In recent weeks Actelion, which specializes in treatments for pulmonary hypertension, has repeatedly come up in market rumors as a potential takeover target for Amgen, with analysts speculating the U.S. company could pay $9.8 billion, or $75 per share, for the Swiss biotech.

Porges said Amgen could pay up to $80 per share, or about $10.45 billion, for Actelion without the deal being dilutive to 2011 earnings. That would represent a 50 percent premium over Actelion's current share price and a 90 percent premium to the stock's price in early October.

However, with virtually no overlap in therapeutic areas of focus there is little room for sales force expense synergies between the two companies, Porges said in the note.

Amgen's core products focus on supportive care for cancer and kidney patients, through its big-selling drugs to boost red and white blood cells, as well as inflammatory diseases.

Actelion's focus on pulmonary arterial hypertension means its sales force deals primarily with cardiologists, while Amgen sales representatives target oncologists, nephrologists, rheumatologists and primary care physicians.

While a deal with Actelion appears to be financially doable, we place a relatively low probability on Amgen completing a transaction with Actelion given the lack of a strategic fit, Porges said.

Other potential buyers with more organizational and portfolio overlaps seem better positioned to maximize the premium paid to Actelion's shareholders, he said.

(Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)