Who will acquire AMAG Pharmaceuticals ( AMAG)? Perhaps it's a bit premature to speculate on a takeout of the company just a few days after the approval of Feraheme. After all, AMAG's injectable iron replacement therapy won't even launch commercially until later this month, and as I pointed out Wednesday, Feraheme carries some uncertainties and risks as it enters the competitive chronic kidney disease treatment market. But the changing landscape for treatment of dialysis and pre-dialysis patients, especially the specter of Medicare dialysis bundling looming in the near future, also means that incumbent players in this market need to take big steps to ensure their future success. That's where an acquisition of AMAG makes sense.
So, who might express interest in AMAG? Let's start with Genzyme ( GENZ), which sells two drugs, Renagel and Renvela, that control phosphorous levels in kidney dialysis patients. Control of Feraheme would give Genzyme another product to sell to dialysis centers and at a higher operating margin given the company's existing sales force. It's worth noting, too, that Genzyme's growth strategy these days seems to hinge largely on business development deals and acquisitions. And both Genzyme and AMAG are located in the greater Boston area, which makes integration of the two companies much easier. Amgen ( AMGN) and Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) sell anemia drugs used to treat chronic kidney disease patients that could end up getting hurt by the new Medicare bundling rules that will force dialysis providers to accept one lump reimbursement for dialysis services and drugs. Right now, those two items are reimbursed separately.