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Partnering Activity Skyrockets as Biotechs Close Year-End Deals

Anyone hoping for a quiet week leading into the holidays has thus far been disappointed, as biotech companies have closed about a dozen deals in the last few days.

According to my unofficial, unscientific analysis of biotech partnering activity, there have been roughly 20 significant biotech collaborations in September, October and November -- deals ranging from Sepracor's $2.6 billion acquisition by Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma and PTC Therapeutics' $1.9 billion discovery deal with Roche to Ligand Pharmaceuticals' $3.2 million buy-out of Metabasis Therapeutics and YM BioSciences' $9.4 million buy-out of Cytopia.

But December has brought 30 new biotech deals, one-third of which surfaced in just the last few days. Here's a sample:

  • Incyte (INCY) landed a $755 million rheumatoid arthritis deal with Eli Lilly (LLY)
  • OncoGenex (OGXI) licensed a cancer drug to Teva (TEVA) for $430 million
  • Seattle Genetics (SGEN) signed a $402 million discovery deal with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
  • Ambit Biosciences and Astellas Pharma teamed up in a $390 million cancer deal
  • Biovitrum sold its obesity program to AstraZeneca for $266 million (AZN)
  • Eisai unveiled plans to acquire AkaRx for $255 million
  • Thallion Pharmaceuticals (TLN.TO) signed a $142.5 million monoclonal antibody deal with LFB Biotechnologies
  • Athersys (ATHX) signed a $111 million stem cell deal with Pfizer (PFE)
  • Myriad Pharmaceuticals (MYRX) said it will acquire Javelin Pharmaceuticals (JAV) for $96 million
  • Durata bought dalbavancin and other old Vicuron drugs from Pfizer
Whew! And we still have a week to go before any stragglers officially miss hitting their end-of-year deal-making deadlines.
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