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Biotech Continues to Lead Market: Innovation and M&A

By: Nicole Urken | 02/18/14 - 10:35 PM EST

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - The big news of today was Actavis' (ACT) announcement o buy Forest Labs (FRX) for $25 billion. And this is much more than just another win for Carl Icahn, the second largest holder of Forest Labs, which has gotten a lot of focus in media outlets.

Remember, both Actavis and Forest Labs have benefited from merger activity. Actavis rose sharply after announcing the $8.5 billion acquisition of Warner Chilcott last year-- increasing exposure to dermatology and gastroenterology-- and allowing the company to relocate to Dublin, Ireland where the tax rate is significantly lower, a theme we have seen by a number of names including Perrigo (PRGO).

So is this financial engineering? Well, it is creating shareholder value-- and coming with higher stock prices. And that's what matters here.

It was correct for Jim Cramer to highlight Actavis as an acquisition winner in Get Rich Carefully, as they have done it again.  Forest Labs offers them double-digit earnings growth and synergies to boot. And growth is key in this group.

M&A in the group isn't the only thing that is propelling the group higher. We continue to get more approvals, including at Chelsea Therapeutics (CHTP) today... not to mention strong sales results from the likes of Regeneron (REGN), Gilead (GILD) and Biogen (BIIB).

When we think of innovation, biotech is the first sector to think of... not tech.

--Written by Nicole Urken in New York.

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