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Bioteching UCB-and Maybe Mid-Sized Pharma, Too

Executive Summary

Celltech could not get the deal value it expected for its late-stage anti-inflammatory treatment--perhaps indicating a Big Pharma reluctance to pay the kinds of prices it has been paying. So UCB struck while it could. Led by new management it seized the opportunity to make what is a transforming move for the midsized European company-from undersized primary care group into a specialist, biopharma firm ranked alongside--indeed above--European biotech bellwether, Serono. If it works, the deal provides a model for other mid-sized European pharmas, looking for a way out of the primary care trap and, like UCB, to use mid-size advantages to power a sustainable long-term strategy.

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European Consolidation: Serious Competition for Big Pharma?

Merck KGAA surprised observers when it announced the €10.6 billion takeover of Europe's biggest biotech, Serono. There was more consolidation to come. That same day, the Danish pharmaceutical group Nycomed Group said it would acquire Altana Pharma for about €4.5 billion in cash. Only a couple days later, UCB SA entered the fray with the acquisition of Schwarz Pharma AG for €4.2 billion in cash and stock. Can these bulked up companies present serious competition for Big Pharma on the licensing front?

European Consolidation: Serious Competition for Big Pharma?

Merck KGAA surprised observers when it announced the €10.6 billion takeover of Europe's biggest biotech, Serono. There was more consolidation to come. That same day, the Danish pharmaceutical group Nycomed Group said it would acquire Altana Pharma for about €4.5 billion in cash. Only a couple days later, UCB SA entered the fray with the acquisition of Schwarz Pharma AG for €4.2 billion in cash and stock. Can these bulked up companies present serious competition for Big Pharma on the licensing front?

UCB: Will Cimzia Be Enough?

Cimzia's success is critical for UCB--not least to justify its $2.7 billion Celltech acquisition. But Cimzia will also be a test-case for whether mid-cap pharma can compete in biologics, particularly as the new Medicare program rolls out.

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