Biopharma M&A activity scaled record highs in 2019, with a few mega mergers announced involving names such as Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE: BMY), Roche Holdings AG Basel ADR (OTC: RHHBY) and AbbVie Inc (NYSE: ABBV).
It's feared that the frenetic pace of M&A in the sector could slow down in the coming year.
Yet there are fundamental reasons to think otherwise: there could at least be many more bolt-on acquisitions as companies, especially cash-rich big pharma companies with an ageing pipeline, strive to reinvigorate slowing growth.
The upcoming year is likely to see many hostile deals, Evaluate Pharma reported, citing Steven Slaughter, managing director of Manulife Investment Management.
"There are enough interesting targets where management teams don't want to sell, but in the large-cap world balance sheets are becoming so large they just have to deploy some capital," Slaughter was quoted as saying at the Jefferies Healthcare Conference.
Increased scrutiny by regulators could serve as a dampener. In 2019, the FTC made several second requests, requiring additional information for vetting M&A transactions.
10 Biotech M&A Targets For 2020
The following are potential targets that could find themselves in the M&A mix in the coming year.
- Gene editing company Crispr Therapeutics AG (NASDAQ: CRSP) is speculated to be a potential target for Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: VRTX), given the licensing agreement in place between the companies. Incidentally, Vertex itself is considered an M&A target.
- Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY), which has the first-ever FDA-approved RNAi therapeutic in Onpattro, is also a potential M&A target. Analysts single out Sanofi SA (NASDAQ: SNY) as the likely pursuer, given the stake it has in Alnylam. It should be noted here that Sanofi recently agreed to buy Synthorx Inc (NASDAQ: THOR) for $2.5 billion.
- Amarin Corporation's (NASDAQ: AMRN) attraction as an M&A target has increased following the FDA nod for an expanded indication for its fish oil pill Vascepa.
- Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ: INCY), which has a blockbuster commercial product in Jakafi.
- Global Blood Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: GBT), which recently received the FDA nod for its sickle cell disease treatment Oxbryta
Several gene therapy companies are discussed as M&A prospects. Notable among them are:
- Uniqure NV (NASDAQ: QURE).
- Sarepta Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: SRPT). Following the recent licensing agreement with Roche, the probability of an outright sale has fallen.
- Regenxbio Inc (NASDAQ: RGNX)
- Solid Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ: SLDB)
- BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN)
See more from Benzinga
- A Perspective On Biopharma's Record M&A Run In 2019
- The Daily Biotech Pulse: Roche Gets US Antitrust Clearance For Spark Purchase, An Orphan Drug Designation For Prevail, Dynavax Names CEO
- After Amarin Snags Vascepa Label Expansion, Analyst Says Biopharma An Attractive M&A Target
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