Now that shares of Human Genome Sciences ($HGSI) have been badly beaten up in recent months, the analysts at Piper Jaffray say they can smell a potential takeover bid from GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK).

Of course, several analysts have been speculating for some time now that GSK, HGS's partner on the recently approved lupus drug Benlysta, would make a move. But nothing has ever happened. Piper Jaffray analysts, though, say the timing may be right now as the Big Pharma giant can swoop in and buy the company for less than Benlysta's market value.

According to Piper Jaffray, the big biotech could be scooped up for something like $21 to $26 a share, which would be a big premium over its current level. For its part, HGS management has always serenely disregarded the market rumors about a GSK move. They've gone about their Benlysta launch as planned, building a commercial arm in an effort to transform the biotech into a full-fledged biopharma operation with a full pipeline and substantial revenue.

Whatever GSK's plans may be, the new buzz about a possible takeover did nothing for HGS's stock, which was trading down slightly this morning.