MedCity morning read, Tuesday, Jan. 27

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The Pfizer-Wyeth deal may or may not be good for the two companies. But it seems clear the deal means trouble, in the near term, for smaller biotech companies.

Because of the merger, Wyeth withdrew from talks to buy Dutch biotech company Crucell. And several analysts expect that at a time when many small biotech companies are desperate for cash, neither Pfizer nor Wyeth will be able to enter into new deals anytime soon.

“There are probably 5,000 biotech companies out there that are waiting for a deal to save them,” Oleg Nodelman, portfolio manager at the Biotechnology Value Fund, told The New York Times.

Kleanthis Xanthopoulos, chief executive of California’s Regulus Therapeutics, told Xconomy: “I think, at first passing, that this will be bad for biotechs which have traditionally used Big Pharma for non-dilutive financing through collaborations. It means one less target, one less pot of capital.”

The Times did say that there’s a chance the acquisition will spur other pharmaceutical companies to buy biotech companies. Plus, the ability for Pfizer to get its debt financing means Roche may be able to acquire the rest of Genentech.

And Nodelman was among the analysts who disagreed with the small-biotechs-are-in-trouble thesis. Instead, look for mid-sized companies – the Times mentioned Cephalon and Myriad Genetics – to buy companies and drugs.

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Chris Seper

By Chris Seper MedCity News

Chris Seper runs and contributes regularly to the site. He is the vice president of healthcare for Breaking Media, MedCity's corporate owners. Reach him at [email protected]
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