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Celltech-UCB: UK's Loss Could be Mid-Sized Pharma's Gain

Executive Summary

Celltech's shareholders should be delighted with the price of UCB's acquisition, since the company probably could not have otherwise secured the kind of alliance it wanted for its flagship product. But UK biotech has sustained a severe blow, losing its only truly liquid biotech. Meanwhile, in suggesting that late-stage deal prices may be reaching their upper limits, the deal sends a wake-up call to other mid-sized European pharma. It's time to leverage shareholder, cash and size differences with Big Pharma to recast Euro-focused primary-care operations into higher profit, albeit higher risk, specialist businesses.

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Deal Statistics Quarterly, Q2 2004

Statistical review compiled from our Strategic Transactions database including financings by type (IPO, private placement etc.); financings by sector (surgical equipment, implantable devices, etc.); alliances by therapeutic category (cardiovascular, orthopedic, etc.); alliances by industry segment (biomaterials, monitoring equipment, etc. ); for three separate industries: medical devices, in vitro diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals/biotechnology.

Can Political M&A Make Commercial Sense?

Sanofi-Aventis stands apart from most other Big Pharma mergers. Granted, it shares many of the same drivers as previous tie-ups: looming patent expiries and hunger for size. But the unashamed political intervention, which helped turn one of the most vocal bidding wars from bitterly hostile to friendly overnight, was quite extraordinary. It points to the still delicate balance in France between commercial freedom and nationalistic pride; more importantly though, its effects may hamper Sanofi-Aventis' success on the global stage.

Can Political M&A Make Commercial Sense?

Sanofi-Aventis stands apart from most other Big Pharma mergers. Granted, it shares many of the same drivers as previous tie-ups: looming patent expiries and hunger for size. But the unashamed political intervention, which helped turn one of the most vocal bidding wars from bitterly hostile to friendly overnight, was quite extraordinary. It points to the still delicate balance in France between commercial freedom and nationalistic pride; more importantly though, its effects may hamper Sanofi-Aventis' success on the global stage.

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