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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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In the Pipeline

« GSK's Biotechy World | Main | Holiday »

July 2, 2010

Sanofi-Aventis Acquires. . .Somebody?

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Posted by Derek

This seems a bit premature: reports have leaked out that Sanofi-Aventis is planning some sort of big acquisition in the US, but no one's saying what it might be. Or if it's going to be done at all - just that they're working on it.

My impression over the years is that deals of this size are contemplated quite often, but that most of them never go through. The numbers don't pan out, the other party gets cold feet, unrelated other developments throw things off. . .there are a lot of things that can go wrong with a potential deal. But talking after-the-fact with some people who've been in a position to see such things, I've been struck by how many feelers are put out, all the time.

So this seems rather unprofessional of someone up there at Sanofi-Aventis. All this sort of leak can do is crank up the speculation about who the targets might be, and raise their stock prices just when you're working on a financial package. Smooth.

Update: the market seems to think that Allergan, Biogen, Genzyme, and possibly Celgene and Gilead are possible targets here. It's also worth noting that the original Bloomberg story cites five people as sources - but they don't all have to be from Sanofi-Aventis. A leak from the company being acquired is still fairly dumb, but it at least makes more sense. . .

Comments (15) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. Scott on July 2, 2010 7:50 AM writes...

Step 1 Buy (or have relatives buy) stock in several small companies, all plausible aquisition targets of SA.

Step 2 Float an unsubstantiated rumor of SA aquiring a non-specific small company.

Step 3 Sell said shares from Step 1.

Step 4 Revel in being pretty smooth.

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2. Greggers on July 2, 2010 8:37 AM writes...

Now that George Scangos is done screwing up Exelixis and has gone to BIIB, maybe Sanofi is planning on taking over BIIB before Scangos can run THAT company into the ground.

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3. Anonymous on July 2, 2010 10:38 AM writes...

Maybe Nativis

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4. Quintus on July 2, 2010 10:56 AM writes...

I wish it would be Novartis

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5. anon the II on July 2, 2010 10:59 AM writes...

Personally, I thing Nativis is more of a GSK kind of company.

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6. petros on July 2, 2010 11:24 AM writes...

The stories say in the $20 billion range, which rules out the big boys (i.e. BMS). and suggest Hospira (injectables) or Mylan (generics) as likely targets.

The latter would fit in with other moves.

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7. partial agonist on July 2, 2010 11:46 AM writes...

I picture pharma bigshots being kind of like the people in Dr. Strangelove, so some MBA equivalent of General Jack D. Ripper made a powerpoint presentation about photon fields and convinced the room that a "photon field GAP" exists and demands their immediate attention.

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8. oh please on July 2, 2010 3:08 PM writes...

maybe it is VRTX?? :)

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9. frequent visitor on July 2, 2010 7:36 PM writes...

It is sad that rumors start, but I think that it is far more sad that our major pharmaceutical companies feel the impending media need to buyout someone with a blockbuster immediately to give their stockholders some solace.

If anyone in this this world is the best at developing and manufacturing viral vaccines (I know Novartis has some great new vaccines just released and in development...not trying to slight them), it is Sanofi-Aventis. It is sad how our need to provide the world with cheap vaccines, makes a company like this have to scramble for cash. I am young and don't know much, but I am also aware of our need to help the less privileged, but at the same time how is the WORLD recognizing this.

We all split our time ensuring we are a good with US/EU/JP regs, but at what point do we realize that the almighty currency needs to be allocated to those who developed and manufactured the drug in the first place...not trying to get into generics talk...but even then...why do our vaccines need to be so cheap?

Sorry for the rant, and I am sure there are answers for why, but I have been watching our industry merge and fire people for the last 2 years, and I feel lucky to retain my position, but am worried for the future.

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10. frequent visitor on July 2, 2010 7:45 PM writes...

I really slighted Merck, and everything Maurice Hilleman has done...I in no way meant any disrespect to Merck. It just seems to me that what Sanofi-Aventis has done in the last 20 years puts them at the top of viral vaccine development.

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11. vacant orbital on July 3, 2010 8:48 AM writes...

I think you should consider small companies in the RTP area. I actually know the company is under consideration!!

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12. anon on July 3, 2010 8:25 PM writes...

GILD is too smart to let itself be bought by the ilk of Sanofi Aventis.

"I think you should consider small companies in the RTP area. I actually know the company is under consideration!!"

Do tell. Hope it's not mine.

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13. Anyonymous BMS Researcher on July 4, 2010 7:32 AM writes...

If I paid much attention to rumors of an impending merger, I would have precious little time or energy to focus on the scientific part of my job. I've been with BMS for well over a decade; in that time for every sale or acquisition that actually took place I heard at least a dozen rumors that did not.

But when there really has been major news, positive or negative, about BMS in every case my first signal has been a sudden movement in the price of our stock -- apparently half of Wall Street learns such things long before I do. On more than one occasion my wife has heard about something like impending layoffs before I did.

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14. x on July 6, 2010 3:55 PM writes...

S-A is has been talking to Merck/MSD to work together with, or buy (parts of), Intervet (Schering-Plough Animal Health).

Thursday it is D-Day for MSD in The Netherlands (fka Organon). see

A lot of speculations (and prayers) in the south of this small country (besides the possibility of winning the World championship soccer of course).

Maybe S-A aims to buy European parts of MSD (Merck).

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15. Hiram Rieley on July 20, 2012 12:18 AM writes...

I believe this site holds very excellent pent content material content.

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