Allergan has Asia in its crosshairs for small deals, open for China plays

Brent Saunders
Wall Street Bull

Ireland-domiciled Allergan ($AGN) is looking hard at Asia for potential deals covering areas from intellectual property to outright M&A--which may include looking at the boom in "Sea Turtles" returning to China to start biotechs as well as India's recent move to make direct investment in domestic companies easier.

Allergan CEO Brent Saunders provided some color in an interview on Bloomberg Television of the state of play for the cash-rich company that has drawn sharp interest after the collapse of an inversion merger with Pfizer ($PFE) earlier this year.

The company is now in the process of finalizing a $40 billion deal to sell parts of its generics business to Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA), giving it $20 billion to invest for growth and innovation, Saunders told Bloomberg​ in an interview held in Shanghai on Wednesday.

"Some portion of that is certainly open for investments in China and in Asia across the board," Saunders told Bloomberg. "We just have to find the right assets that really complement our strategy of being a growth pharma leader and of course leading in our therapeutic areas like medical aesthetics, dermatology and eye care."

Chinese firms in the intellectual property and R&D areas that would fit with the stated therapeutic aims might be harder to find, but small deals have recently caught attention, including Chinese biotech Essex Bio and synthetic biology specialist Abpro's $3.5 million deal to develop cancer and eye drugs.

"We will be looking at buying intellectual property, R&D assets and of course M&A," Saunders said. "With respect to M&A, we will be looking at more smaller-scale tuck-in deals that will support our therapeutic area leadership and innovation."

Saunders suggested that wider opportunities are in the mix in Asia. For instance, India earlier this month increased the threshold to 74% from 49% before regulatory approval is needed to buy into a domestic drug company.

- here's the story from Bloomberg

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