And the Deal of the Year is . . .

Why should Hollywood have all the fun? That's In Vivo's philosophy this awards season, so it's nominating a slate of prospective Deals of the Year. From Big Pharma buyouts to smaller company marriages to biotech drug deals, the nominees run the gamut of this year's M&As and licensing tie-ups. Here are a few of our favorites, which, given our name, skew toward the pharma side. 

  • Pfizer/Ranbaxy: In a win-win sort of patent settlement, Pfizer got an extra 20 months of Lipitor exclusivity and Ranbaxy got the right to sell generic versions in November 2011 in the U.S. Ranbaxy also gets to continue selling Lipitor copycats in Peru, Vietnam and a couple of other countries in the meantime, and it gets to launch generic Caduet--which combines Lipitor with the Norvasc blood pressure drug--by November 2011.
  • Novartis/Alcon: In a diversification move, Novartis bought a 25 percent stake in Alcon, the surgical and ophthalmalogical products company, for $11 billion. And it plans to boost that stake in a couple of years to $76 percent, at a price that can't exceed an agreed-upon limit of $28 billion. That gives the drugmaker a presence in the device world without the risk of managing it directly, at least at first.
  • Daiichi Sankyo/Ranbaxy and Takeda/Millennium: Two Japanese companies making big deals in a bid to vault into the pharma major leagues. By buying outside their home markets, they get more of a global presence and greater access to markets where prices aren't as closely controlled as they are in Japan. 

Conspicuously absent from the list, in our view, was Eli Lilly's buyout of ImClone Systems. Considering all the time we spent writing about Bristol-Myers Squibb's bid for its Erbitux partner--and Lilly's behind-the-scenes dealmaking--we figured it would make the list of nominees. But In Vivo's ballot does provide for write-in votes, so readers may still vault it into the winner's circle. Voting continues through January 6.

- read the In Vivo post