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Discounts in Biotech Keep Pharma M&A Rolling

Tight credit markets are no doubt hindering corporate deals, but the strong likelihood remains for more Big Pharma buyouts.

Biotech firms, particularly struggling micro-caps, are ripe for the picking. And it's no secret that many Big Pharma companies in the next few years will be facing a cliff-like drop in their revenue due to various patent expirations of key drugs.

With this impending revenue decline on the horizon, these large companies are looking to emerging markets and the mid-cap space for growth potential, says Pete Meyers, co-head of health-care investment banking at Deutsche Bank. Some of these pharmaceutical giants will have no choice "but to be acquisitive," he says.

Yes, we have been left waiting to see the next chapter in Roche's July bid for Genentech (DNA) (DNA), a large biotech that is now trading around $75 a share. "The only thing we want to say at the moment is that we are committed to the transaction and aim to reach an agreement with Genentech," a Roche spokesperson said in an email last week.

According to a recent Reuters report, Roche had been seeking a $45 billion loan. Investors are clearly skeptical that the Big Pharma will be able to borrow enough money for the deal -- which Genentech rejected at the proposed price of $89-a-share.

But smaller deals are getting done. Just a week after inking a deal to buy Omrix Biopharmaceuticals (OMRI) for $338 million, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Get Report) on Monday said it would buy breast implant company Mentor (MNT) for $1.1 billion.
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