AbbVie Gets Ahead of the Bad News Curve

On March 11, Sanofi (NYSE: SNY)  and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) announced that an experimental rheumatoid arthritis therapy (salrilumab) helped patients more than AbbVie Inc.’s (NYSE: ABBV) Humira in a late-stage trial. But AbbVie already had a new deal in place, a collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim, that was announced on March 7. Under terms of the agreement, AbbVie will make an initial upfront payment of $595 million to BI, which will be eligible to receive additional development and regulatory milestone payments and royalties on net sales of any drugs developed from this collaboration. At the center of the deal is BI 655066, an anti-IL-23 antibody now in Phase 3... Read More »

Big Deal of the Day: Shire Buys Dyax

Shire plc (NASDAQ: SHPG) is on a buying binge in 2015. After agreeing to be acquired by AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) for $54.7 billion in July 2014, the deal fell apart in October following the Treasury Department’s revised ruling on foreign domiciles. Shire management turned around and acquired rare disease drug maker NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: NPSP) in January for $5.2 billion, then added prescription drug maker  Meritage Pharma, Inc. in February for $70 million. After a few months digesting those deals, Shire was back on the acquisition trail in August, paying $300 million for Foresight Biotherapeutics Inc., a clincal stage drug development company. Now it’s agreed to pay... Read More »

Another Priority Review Voucher Sold

In August, AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) paid a record-setting $350 million to United Therapeutics Corp. (NASDAQ: UTHR) for its Rare Pediatric Disease Priority Review Voucher. The fast-track voucher was awarded by the FDA as part of its approval of Unituxin™ (dintuximab), for the treatment of neuroblastoma. On Sept. 8, the FDA cleared Wellstat Therapeutics’ Xuriden (uridine triacetate) for the treatment of hereditary orotic aciduria, a rare, potentially fatal genetic disorder. It also granted a Rare Pediatric Disease Priority Review Voucher to the privately held Wellstat. That voucher was immediately sold to AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) as part of an agreement made in September 2014. Financial... Read More »

Biotech M&A in 2015

Last Friday, the Biotech sector, represented by the Nasdaq Biotechnology index (NASDAQ: IBB), officially entered a correction phase, based on a 14% drop in valuations since July 20. That could put a damper on a sector that’s seen tremendous M&A activity in 2015, with 117 deals announced so far (vs. 136 total in 2014), and nearly $40 billion in spending (well up from the $21 billion spent in 2014). While the AbbVie’s (NYSE: ABBV) $21 billion takeover of Pharmacyclics (NASDAQ: PCYC) has a lot to do with the large total, billion-dollar deals haven’t been uncommon. Take a look. TargetAcquirerPrice PharmacyclicsAbbVie$21.0 billion NPS PharmaceuticalsShire plc$5.2 billion... Read More »

Busy Year for Billion-Dollar Health Care Deals

Last week we noted that April was a slow month for healthcare deals. Then we checked our database,, and discovered there have been 19 billion-dollar deal announcements already in 2015, through May 8th, with a combined total of $103.6 billion. The total for the entire year is about to top $120 billion, on 487 transactions. That’s not on track to beat 2014, yet. Read More »