JPM: Day 1 round-up

The first day of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference didn't disappoint, as a slew of companies announced deals. Most notably, Japanese pharma Takeda Pharmaceuticals announced it would acquire Ariad for $5.2 billion for its oncology drugs.

Investor Brad Loncar told BioPharma Dive at the conference that the deal was a smart, albeit costly move by Takeda. According to Loncar, the move exemplifies a strategy many companies are pursuing these days — acquiring products that are on-market or near-market in order to boost near-term revenues.

Large pharma companies don't have the time to incubate a product and bring it all the way through the clinic anymore without showing what the investment is worth, he added. 

Allergan also joined the deal spree, announcing two R&D collaborations, including a Parkinson's disease agreement with Lysosomal Therapeutics and a licensing agreement with Assembly BioSciences for its microbiome gastrointestinal programs. The Irish pharma has been active in M&A since closing the sale of its generics unit to Teva, but has stayed true to CEO Brent Saunders preference for "stepping stone" deals. 

Meanwhile, Ipsen snatched up Merrimack for $575 million, giving the French company the already-marketed pancreatic cancer drug Onivyde.

Not to be left out from the deal making bonanza, academic institutions and research organizations got in on the act. Diabetes unicorn Intarcia inked a research collaboration with the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr) for diabetes and obesity.

And AbbVie is teaming up with Genomic Medicines Ireland to conduct genome research in Ireland. The agreement was one of four research agreements that the Humira-developer announced.

Even as attendees crowded the hallways of the Westin St. Francis in hopes of hearing Vice President Joe Biden speak about his Cancer Moonshot program, still more industry execs flooded nearby hotels conducting one-on-one partnering interviews.

A panel of biotech executives at the Biotech Showcase down the street talked about the value of the microbiome and how the Food and Drug Administration has been working with companies in the space to develop a clearer regulatory pathway for the developing therapeutic area. Rebiotix CEO Lee Jones told attendees at the panel that the regulatory agency has been stringent in attending conferences and talking to companies in order to better understand the needs of the companies in the space. 

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Filed Under: Mergers and Acquisitions / Deals