More takeover targets for Big Pharma

Industry watchers can't resist identifying takeover targets for Big Pharma. This week, the Motley Fool's radar is picking up Sepracor--which announced layoffs yesterday after a few tough quarters. Though its stock jumped on the restructuring news, it's still way off a 52-week high, so its market cap is in the doable range. And the sleep aid Lunesta is patent-protected through 2012, which could help a patent-losing pharma get through a few tough years. Likely buyers? Sepracor partners GlaxoSmithKline and Schering-Plough.

Then there's Onyx Pharmaceuticals and its cancer drug Nexavar. Onyx has been trying to broaden the indications for the drug, hence it's spending lots of cash on expensive trials. It's likely to get approvals for use against liver cancer later this year--and perhaps more after that. Marketing partner Bayer is an obvious suitor.

Last but not least: Shire Pharmaceuticals, which is developing a nice specialty in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Its market cap tops $13 billion, so only the biggest of the big could step up for a buyout. And it might just become the buyer itself...maybe by snapping up another ADHD-focused company, Noven Pharmaceuticals.

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