The new year has its first megadeal agreement, thanks to Shire and Baxalta. On Monday, the two finally announced a $32 billion tie-up after a months-long pursuit by the Dublin drugmaker.
In the requisite flood of dealmaking that marks day one of San Francisco's annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, high-profile biotechs Juno Therapeutics and Moderna Therapeutics widened their R&D operations, while some smaller players signed deals and roped in cash to keep their projects moving.
It took a few months, but Shire has wrapped a $32 billion deal to acquire Baxalta, providing CEO Flemming Ornskov with the big merger that he has been promising investors.
Last week, investors unveiled a $73 million startup complete with $750 million deal to pursue star Dana-Farber investigator Jay Bradner's preclinical work in developing protein degraders to fight cancer. Today, Roche is coming back to grab Tensha Therapeutics--a virtual biotech in the HealthCare Ventures stable that has an early-stage clinical program underway for Bradner's BET (bromodomain) inhibitor--in a $535 million buyout.
Could Shire's months-long pursuit of Baxalta finally be coming to a close? That's the word from Reuters, which says the Dublin drugmaker is preparing to announce its acquisition--valued at about $32.5 billion--as early as Monday.
Shire and Baxalta both reportedly want to make a tie-up happen. So what's taking so long? According to the Financial Times, the potential deal now hinges on Shire's ability to put cash in the mix without triggering a hefty tax bill. And the Dublin drugmaker won't be proceeding until it's "highly confident" in the advice it receives, the newspaper's sources say.
Charles River Laboratories extended its run of acquisitions with a $585 million buyout of WIL Research, picking up a company the CRO said will expand its global footprint and bolster its manufacturing capabilities.
PPD, rumored to be up for sale, spun out its wholly owned biotech company into a stand-alone entity, a move the CRO said will maximize shareholder value.
Panasonic Healthcare has closed its purchase of the Bayer Diabetes Care business for about $1.1 billion. The deal was originally disclosed in June and was funded in part by well-known hedge fund KKR, which holds 80% of Panasonic Healthcare with the remainder owned by the larger Panasonic corporate entity.
Pharma M&A is going strong so far this year, with Baxalta and Shire reportedly weighing a $32 billion-plus deal. But don't expect 2016 to best 2015 in terms of dealmaking, according to some industry watchers, who say that rapid-fire pace is likely to slow in the year ahead.