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Serono Deals Its Way Into Oncology

Executive Summary

It ought to be hard to convince an oncology-focused biotech to license its crown jewel to a firm without experience developing oncology drugs, but Serono SA was able to do just that-twice in the span of eight days-when it in-licensed Phase II and Phase III oncology programs, respectively, from Micromet AG and CancerVax Corp. in December.

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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?

Will Pharma Split Spur Altana Into Action?

Altana AG announced in July that it would split out the pharmaceuticals division into a separately listed company sometime next year. The news followed a large acquisition in chemicals; but for pharma, the timing couldn't have been worse. Two key late-stage development projects suffered setbacks in the last 12 months, and there's little in the pipeline to replace them.

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