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Big Pharma activity heats up

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The increase in recent acquisition activity among Big Pharma illustrates different growth strategies, according to industry watchers.

The increase in recent acquisition activity among Big Pharma illustrates different growth strategies, according to industry watchers.

Among the latest includes Merck, which is said to be close to selling its over-the-counter unit, to Bayer for approximately $14 billion, reported the New York Times.

“The most recent deal activity between Merck and Bayer is another example of companies leveraging their strengths by emphasizing key businesses,” said John Santilli of Access Market Intelligence, which provides market intelligence to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

“Following the positive reaction to GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis’ recent asset swap, Bayer is paying approximately $14 billion and offering animal assets to acquire Merck’s consumer business, which includes popular products like the allergy medicine Claritin, Dr. Scholl’s shoe inserts, and Coppertone sunscreen,” Santilli said.

The GlaxoSmithKline-Novartis recent joint venture to create a new consumer healthcare business benefits Merck, as Bayer responded aggressively to achieve its objective to hold a market-leading position in non-prescription healthcare, according to Santilli.

“The deal allows Merck to focus on its specialty pharmaceuticals division,” he said. “Analysts expect specialty drugs to account for 60% of all pharmaceutical sales by 2018, as drug-makers capitalize on breakthroughs in understanding rare diseases and the genetic makeup of patients.”

In other Big Pharma activity, AstraZeneca reportedly rejected Pfizer’s bid to buy, after Pfizer sweetened the pot from $100 billion to $106 billion. For more on Pfizer-AstraZeneca see http://formularyjournal.modernmedicine.com/formulary-journal/news/pfizer-keen-acquiring-astrazeneca

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