Mergers’ Latest Stint In The Hot Seat

Anyone who reads the comments at Derek Lowe’s In the Pipeline knows that drug company mergers are far from favorites among industry researchers. Mergers also took the heat at a pair of high-profile events this month.

At this month’s ACS/Société de Chimie Industrielle panel discussion, former Pfizer Global R&D President John LaMattina laid the blame for ailing pharma pipelines largely on mergers.
From today’s C&EN editorial by Rudy Baum:

LaMattina’s comments focused on the negative impact of mergers and acquisitions on pharmaceutical R&D (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nrd3514) calling them “a major factor in the decline in R&D productivity.” He pointed out that the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America had 42 members in 1988, of which only 11 exist today as independent companies. While there are more than 11 current members of PhRMA, “the fact is , due to industry consolidation as well as some companies dropping their pharmaceutical R&D, there is far less competition in this industry than there was a decade ago.”

“Lilly has announced that they are going to be growing organically, and not through M&A,” Baum says. At the Société event both LaMattina and fellow panelist Ron Breslow of Columbia wished the company well in this strategy, he adds.

LaMattina confirms this, adding via Twitter “I would hope that Pharmas can succeed without the devastating effects of mergers.”

It wasn’t just LaMattina and Breslow calling out mergers. Last Friday, at the Pharmaceutical Strategic Alliances Conference, Bristol Myers Squibb CEO Lamberto Andreotti said that avoiding mergers was part of what’s made his company successful. As tweeted by Pearl Freier, founder of advisory firm Cambridge BioPartners:
PearlF: #PSA11 BMS transform, CEO credits continuity in R+D team working together for 7,8 years + No big mergers in 15 yrs, no disruptions

You can read more about Andreotti’s remarks at Reuters.

Author: Carmen Drahl

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