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Dec 29, 2006

Highest Priced Deals of Q4 ‘06

  • The last quarter of 2006 gave rise to over 50 mergers and acquisitions of all sizes. The five largest reported deals are highlighted.

    Merck-Serono Biopharmaceuticals was born at an almost $13.58-billion price paid by Merck KGaA. Upon the Bertarelli Family giving up their majority stake in Serono, a company with a $13.66-billion market cap as of December 28, 2006, Merck transformed itself from one of the oldest pure pharmaceutical and chemical companies into a formidable biopharmaceutical firm.

    Abbott shelled out $3.7 billion in cash to expand its lipid management portfolio. The acquisition of Kos Pharmaceuticals and its on-market products is set to give Abbott a bigger slice of the $20-billion cholesterol market.

    Gilead Sciences took over Myogen in a deal worth $2.5 billion. The transaction was part of a diversification strategy for Gilead’s portfolio of mainly HIV drugs.

    Eli Lilly plans to take control over Icos’ erectile dysfunction drug, Cialis, by buying the company for $2.3 billion. Lilly originally offered $2.1 billion. The companies have a joint venture related to the drug that enjoyed $456 million in sales for the first quarter of 2006.

    To strengthen its foothold in the RNAi field, Merck & Co. proffered $1.1 billion to Sirna Therapeutics. The price was more than double Sirna’s closing price of $6.45 per share the day before the announcement.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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