Guest post by Raveena Bhambra, Senior Analyst at Current Partnering
The key trend of Q1 has to be the large volume of high value M&As that took place. According to Current Agreements almost 130 M&A deals were signed over the three month period between the world’s pharma and biotech companies, 16 of which were over USD 1 billion. If we compare this to last year’s Q1, we see that 35 more deals have been signed this year and 11 more that are worth over USD 1 billion.
The highest value deal in Q1 was the USD 21 billion acquisition of Pharmacyclics by top 50 pharma company AbbVie. This was closely followed by the “will it, won’t it” acquisition agreement of Salix Pharmaceuticals by Valeant Pharmaceuticals. This deal was previously uncertain for Valeant Pharmaceuticals as it had to raise its bid to USD 11.11 billion in order to secure Salix after Endo International made a surprise counter bid shortly before.
Ten of the top 50 pharma companies were involved in the M&A deals of Q1; these included Pfizer that acquired Hospira for USD 17 billion, Bristol-Myers Squibb that acquired Flexus Biosciences, Inc. for USD 1.25 billion, Actavis that acquired Auden McKenzie and Roche who took over France-based Trophos. GlaxoSmithKline, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Baxter International also made purchases.
UK-based Shire Pharmaceuticals had a busy quarter; in January it acquired its US biotech rival NPS Pharmaceuticals for USD 5.2 billion in a deal that provided it with a pipeline of rare disease products. The company then went onto acquire Meritage Pharmaceuticals for USD 70 million; this deal further cemented Shire’s foothold in the rare disease and GI market as it immediately gained access to Meritage’s Phase III rare GI product.
Looking at all this M&A activity it seems the idea of consolidating is still very much a key strategy for biopharma companies moving into 2015. Big pharma companies are continuing to bulk up their strong core areas with company and asset acquisitions and wherever possible they are selling their not so strong divisions and departments to willing buyers.