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Contact: John Sterling, 914-740-2196, jsterling@genengnews.com
GEN Reports on Biotech Acquisition Deals in 2010 that Topped $1 Billion

New Rochelle, NY, January 10, 2011—The mega-mergers of 2009 did not continue into 2010. While the three biggest acquisitions in 2009 each had a price tag of more than $40 billion, only last year’s top purchase got above that mark, according to an evaluation of reported deals conducted by Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN). The only other mega takeover for the year, sanofi-aventis’ move to buy Genzyme, is still being worked out.

A look at 2010’s buyouts that crossed the $1 billion mark reveals interesting similarities with major acquisitions from past years. Prior finalists make a repeat appearance, and most organizations that have reported consolidation say that the mergers have been positive.

“I think the uncertainty surrounding the sanofi-aventis/Genzyme story put a break on the number of large mergers and acquisitions that might actually have taken place,” says John Sterling, Editor in Chief of GEN. “Once that deal gets done, other big M&As are likely to follow.”

Novartis’ $41 billion purchase of Alcon, which has a significant portfolio of eye disease therapies, topped the list of acquisitions last year. Sanofi-aventis’ bid for Genzyme of $18.5 billion, which still has to clear, grabbed the number two spot. Merck’s foray into life science tools and services with its $5.2 billion acquisition of Millipore was next, followed by Teva paying €3.625 billion for ratiopharm to up its generic drug dominance.

Fifth place went to Astellas Pharma for picking up OSI Pharmaceuticals for $4 billion. Pfizer, 2009’s top bidder, made the number six spot with its takeover of King Pharmaceuticals for $3.6 billion. Other acquisition deals that crossed the billion-dollar mark included Grifols/Talecris, Celgene/Abraxis, Thermo Fisher Scientific/Dionex, and Johnson & Johnson/Crucell.