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Biotech M&A Outlook Boosted By AbbVie Deal, Says This RBC Analyst

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Biotech M&A Outlook Boosted By AbbVie Deal, Says This RBC Analyst
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AbbVie Inc's (NYSE: ABBV) $21 billion deal Thursday to buy Pharmacyclics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PCYC) casts a bullish reflection on other potential deals in the industry, an analyst said.

Big pharmaceutical companies will pay "what ever price they have to" in acquiring biotech companies in order to replenish dwindling product pipelines, RBC's Simos Simeonidis said.

Among smaller biotechs potentially in the sights of Big Pharma, Simeonidis listed Puma Biotechnology Inc (NYSE: PBYI) and Medivation Inc (NASDAQ: MDVN) in the oncology segment.

In muscular dystrophy, Simeonidis signed out Santhera Pharmaceuticals Holding AG (SWX: SANN) and PTC Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PTCT) as potential take-out targets during 2015.

Related Link: Barclays Expands Coverage To 7 New Biotech Stocks

PTC Therapeutics was reported recently by Reuters to be exploring a potential sale, although the company has declined to comment.

Simeonidis said a deal for PTC might be premature, given pending Phase III trial results on its lead drug candidate expected in the fourth quarter.

But PTC will be "of significant interest" to potential acquirers, including BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN), Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: VRTX) and Shire PLC (NASDAQ: SHPG).

Puma is "an obvious M&A target" according to Simeonidis, who said Phase III data on its neratinib breast cancer treatment is expected at American Society of Clinical Oncology conference later this year and will be a "major catalyst."

Medivation is getting full credit in the stock market for its prostate cancer drug xtandi, but not included in its valuation is a take-out premium, Simeonidis said.

News of the AbbVie deal Thursday "theoretically increases the potential" of an acquisition of Medivation, Simeonidis said.

As for Santhera, it's an "under-the-radar" company and a "sleeper M&A target" in Simeonidis view.

Swiss-based Santhera is expected to soon file a new drug application for its or idebenone muscular dystrophy drug while a decision on market clearance for its optic neuropathy drug is expected this summer, the analyst said.

Latest Ratings for ABBV

DateFirmActionFromTo
Nov 2016CitigroupDowngradesBuyNeutral
Oct 2016Credit SuisseDowngradesOutperformNeutral
Oct 2016Leerink SwannInitiates Coverage OnMarket Perform

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