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TheStreet Open House

Psst... These Drug Firms Are Getting Bought: BioBuzz

BOSTON, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- Look for U.S. pharmaceutical companies to ratchet up acquisition activity -- the target being biotech and specialty drug firms, according to Credit Suisse pharmaceuticals analyst Catherine Arnold, in a research note published Thursday morning.

Arnold believes that the cost-saving mega-mergers between Big Pharma are largely done, so now Big Pharma will focus on boosting revenue growth through smaller acquisitions.

So, who's going to buy whom, according to Arnold?

Appetizing takeover targets include Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN), Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN), Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX), BioMarin (BMRN), Rigel (RIGL) and Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP).

The potential buyers include Abbott Labs (ABT), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Eli Lilly (LLY), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Gilead Sciences (GILD) and Forest Labs (FRX).

Where is Rigel Partner in Wake of Stock Sale?

Rigel Pharmaceuticals is selling more stock, but wasn't the small drug maker supposed to raise money by partnering its experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug?

Announced Wednesday after the close, Rigel said it intends to sell 6 million shares with an over-allotment option for another 900,000-shares. At Wednesday's closing price, the offering would gross just under $53 million.

Rigel ended the second quarter with about $80 million in cash, enough to get the company into the middle of next year.

The new offering will bolster the company's bank account and could help it at the negotiating table as it seeks a partner for R788, a novel pill for rheumatoid arthritis.

Or, does this new offering signal that Rigel is having trouble finding a partner interested in R788?

The drug is certainly not without controversy. An oral pill for rheumatoid arthritis could be a very big deal given that current medicines -- most notably the so-called "anti-TNFs" like Amgen's (AMGN) Enbrel and Abbott Labs' Humira -- are given by injection.

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