Thursday, January 3, 2019

Big Bang! Or, "Crazy Big" M&A Is... Back, In Life Science Space... In 2019

I will -- in some future quiet (snowy afternoon) moment (there will be many of them, to come, here) -- offer some thoughts on the needed divestitures, in order for this deal to clear antitrust reviews, in the EU, UK and the US. . . but I do think some form of it will. . . actually close.

In that regard, do recall that Merck has $700 million in immuno-commitments, already (as of October 2018) tied up in a joint deal with lil' Celgene -- at Dragonfly (thus the faded lower left in my graphic). That, given the Merck vs. BMS head to head competition in immuno-oncology -- may be in need of some tweaking, here. Many have good rundowns on the broader landscape, here -- but I'll quote just a bit, from the ever-cogent Matt Herper, now in Boston, with STAT [Updated]:

. . . .The transaction — the fourth-largest ever in pharma — joins two of the largest companies in oncology, both of which have been facing setbacks. Bristol-Myers pioneered the use of cancer medicines that work by priming the immune system, but its flagship blockbuster drug, Opdivo, has been surpassed by a rival medicine from Merck, especially in the market for lung cancer.

Celgene has faced a string of clinical and regulatory disappointments over the past year. The stock has dropped 36 percent in the last 12 months, largely on concerns that Revlimid, its blockbuster multiple myeloma drug, is losing patent protection. . . .

Onward -- ever onward. Big M&A usually leads to smaller (anti-trust driven) divestitures -- so these will be very busy times, in Q1 2019. And even so, my mind. . . is awash in the unfolding celestial poetry, in graceful arching twists, now some four billion miles away from Earth -- as a lithe copper goddess. . . spins a pirouette, to say hello. . . . smile.


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