In pharma M&A, 2015 trumps red-hot 2014 so far, report says

Think last year was a hot one for pharma M&A? Just take a look at 2015, a new report says.

Global activity in the pharma, medical and biotech spheres over the first three quarters of this year has hit its largest-to-date value since at least 2001, according to new data from intelligence and news service Mergermarket. Over that range, the industries have turned up 954 transactions worth $367.6 billion.

And pharma is largely to thank. The field has seen 268 deals worth $231.5 billion through the first three quarters of 2015. That's a 93.4% increase over the same period last year, which encompassed 251 deals worth $119.7 billion.

Of note: Not all the 2015 transactions Mergermarket lists have actually gone through. The report includes Mylan's ($MYL) hostile attempt at Perrigo ($PRGO); currently, Mylan is extending its tender offer to its Irish target's investors, and execs said Tuesday that they can't yet quantify just how many investors have taken up their proposal.

But those aside, 2015 has already seen some whopper agreements. For one, there was Teva's ($TEVA) $40.5 billion pact to pick up Allergan's ($AGN) generics business, a transaction the companies have said they expect to close in early 2016. AbbVie ($ABBV) also signed on to fork over $21 billion for Imbruvica-maker Pharmacyclics, a price analysts in March deemed 'astronomical.'

And there may be more on the way in this year's Q4. After all, last year's biggest deal, Actavis' $66 billion Allergan buyout, hit in November. And buyout-hungry companies such as Pfizer ($PFE) and Shire ($SHPG) are still on the prowl for more acquisitions. Both have shown in the recent past that they're willing to strike large accords: In 2014, Pfizer was denied by AstraZeneca ($AZN), while Shire this year made a play for Baxalta ($BXLT) in the wake of its failed AbbVie merger.

- read the report (PDF)

Special Report: Pharma's top 10 M&A deals of 2014