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Latest From Unilab Corp.
This week's roundup includes two executive appointments by GSK, plus updates from Radius Health Inc., Cue Biopharma and BenevolentAI, with Myovant Sciences making four key management hires.
At the top of the industry, consolidation has frozen out much additional M&A; horizontal mergers among large companies have become much more difficult to get through regulatory authorities as the industries themselves have consolidated. In medical devices, M&A is at a 10-year low, reflecting a paucity of high-value small-company opportunities. Perhaps as important, some successful big-company development programs undermine a basic assumption of medical device investing: that big companies must source innovation from small ones, usually through acquisitions. Meanwhile In biotech, the number and value of M&A is down, despite the apparent logic of consolidation and the unprecedented willingness of sellers to accept low valuations. The key problem is that there are few buyers: those without extremely strong balance sheets aren't willing to take on additional burn rates, having seen some acquirers come to grief as their new, apparently stronger companies are unable to raise money in this bear market.
LabCorp.'s proposed purchase of Dianon Systems, followed by the announcement of Welsh Carson's bid for AmeriPath, reflect different paths taken by two fierce competitors.They are also the inevitable consequence of rapid laboratory consolidation at the national level. LCA wants Dianon so that it can expand its position in cancer testing. Welsh Carson, in contrast, is a financial buyer who would have to "clean up" AmeriPath, which has run into difficulties due to its physician practice management business model.
Quest and Laboratory Corp. of America, two Wall Street favorites for several years, seem to be bumping up against a wall when it comes to growth. Their growth is heavily dependent on acquisitions--but there aren't many big labs left to buy. Lab Corp.'s just announced offer for Dianon not withstanding. Quest's bid to buy California-based Unilab, is under FTC scrutiny--although Wall Street is betting the deal will fly. Lab Corp. faces intense regional competition, which it claims it is addressing. Still, the bigger these companies get, the tougher it is to maintain growth.
- Contract Research, Toxicology Testing-CRO