Pharma deals way up in Q1

Investment bankers and lawyers should be writing plenty of thank-you notes to drugmakers. During the first quarter of 2009, pharma deals accounted for almost 50 percent more than all the industry's transactions announced in 2008, according to a report from The Mergermarket Group of New York and London. Quarter-over-quarter, this year's total runs more than 10 times last year's amount.

Pharma deals added up to $166 billion for the first three months of the year. You know who they are: Roche/Genentech ($47 billion), Pfizer/Wyeth ($64 billion), and Merck/Schering-Plough ($43 billion) are only the three biggest.

Mergermarket predicts that mega-deals will screech to a halt now, however, with acquisitions focusing more on companies valued at $5 billion or less. Think GlaxoSmithKline's buyout of Stiefel Labs yesterday, for instance, or any of Sanofi-Aventis' recent deals. And the group forecasts that M&A over the next few quarters will include healthy growth in stem-cell-related transactions.

- here's the release (.pdf)
- read TheStreet article