22 Feb 2010

BioPharm Insight™, a division of Pearson PLC (NYSE: PSO), in its annual Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Licensing Agreement and M&A Report for 2009 shows a strong rebound in the value of licensing activity in Q4 2009 following a decrease the previous three quarters.

BioPharm Insight details Q4 2009 having seen 139 agreements valued at US$17,398m, a staggering increase of 117% by value from Q3 2009, in which 151 agreements with a total value of US$8,027m were announced. BioPharm Insight cites the agreement between Novartis and Incyte involving INCB18424 and INCB28060, drugs for the treatment of cancer, as the largest deal in Q4 2009, potentially valued at US$1,310m.

Law Firm Leaders
Covington & Burling lead BioPharm Insight’s league tables ranked by value both globally and in North America with nine and eight transactions respectively valued at US$3,396m. Both global and North American volume tables are topped by Goodwin Procter with 10 agreements worth US$534m.

Davis Polk & Wardwell lead the European value tables with three deals totaling US$2,422m, while Covington & Burling takes top spot by volume once again advising on five agreements worth US$2,140m, closely followed by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius with five deals totaling US$1,962m.

Covington & Burling also leads the Asia-Pacific tables by value and volume with three agreements valued at US$1,160m.

M&A Leaders
Skadden Arps and Cooley Godward Kronish lead the global Biotech & Pharma M&A league tables. The global league tables ranked by value were topped in 2009 by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom – who also took top spot in the North American tables – with 13 deals valued at US$156,861m. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz was one of the biggest climbers by value, from 30th in 2008 to second in 2009, having advised on four deals totaling US$108,391m. Cooley Godward Kronish topped global and North American volume tables with 16 deals worth US$3,044m followed by Skadden Arps and Latham & Watkins with 13 transactions each valued at US$156,861m and US$53,651m respectively.

In Europe, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer with three deals worth US$51,538m and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton with eight transactions valued at US$16,105m topped the value and volume tables, respectively. Latham & Watkins also took top place in Asia-Pasific tables with four deals worth US$3,077m followed by Morrison & Foerster, which advised on four transactions valued at US$1,215m.

Pharma Deals Top M&A in 2009
In January, Pfizer agreed to acquire Wyeth for US$63,266m in the largest deal of the year, followed by announcement of Roche’s acquisition of a 44.2% stake that it did not already own in Genentech for US$44,291m, in the same month. Third largest Pharmaceutical deal of 2009 was acquisition of Schering-Plough by Merck for US$43,198m. In terms of volume, global M&A in Biotech and Pharmaceutical sectors has been on the rise over the last two quarters of 2009 climbing back to its Q3 2008 number with 78 transactions announced in Q4 2009.

Expectations for 2010
BioPharm Insight believes large pharmaceutical companies will be on the lookout for targets that can help replenish their drug development pipelines. The mega deals seen in 2009 could lead to divestitures required to seal these transactions as regulators scrutinize the announced tie ups.