Watch out, Valeant. Concordia's joining the buy-to-grow pharma business

Serial acquirer Valeant ($VRX) may have a mini-me in Concordia Healthcare--but it's a mini-me that could just wind up luring investors away from the Quebec-based drugmaker.

Some analysts see "a lot more opportunity left" in fellow Canadian pharma Concordia, which has struck 6 deals valued at about $1.5 billion since 2013, than they do in Valeant, StoneCastle Investment Management fund manager Bruce Campbell told Bloomberg.

And Concordia CEO Mark Thompson, for his part, says he agrees. "I think a lot people see Concordia as a company that's got a lot of runway in front of it, whereas Valeant continues to execute, obviously, but their opportunity set has shrunk," he said. And when it comes to dealmaking, "I don't have any intention of stopping," he noted, adding that his company would be moving to close a tie-up in the third quarter of this year.

It's a buyout mantra Valeant helmsman J. Michael Pearson has been repeating since taking up the reins there, announcing 16 buys for a combined value of $23 billion since 2013. But if the industry's deal wave continues, he may find himself facing off against the Concordias of the pharma industry sooner rather than later. After Concordia's latest deal--an acquisition of Switzerland's Covis--it will "begin competing with even larger companies for assets that would have been out of reach in the past," Cormark Securities analyst David Dean told Bloomberg.

Concordia's Thompson wouldn't be the first Valeant copycat to spar with Pearson over acquisition targets. Last month, Endo's ($ENDP) Rajiv De Silva--an avid dealmaker himself who previously served as Valeant's president--offered up a competing bid for Salix after Pearson's company inked a pact with the North Carolina drugmaker.  

While Valeant ultimately sweetened its Salix offer and prevailed, when it comes to the deal scene, Endo is here to stay. "If you looked not just in North America but overseas, there are many private companies and many small companies that many in the broader investment community have never heard of," Piper Jaffray analyst David Amsellem told Bloomberg last month. "But you can rest assured that Endo has heard of them."

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