Will Big Pharma buy Biogen Idec?

So, Big Pharma--you all want to make a deal with biotech. But who's most likely to step up to the plate for Biogen Idec? Analysts put the price tag at $25 billion to $30 billion, so only the cash-rich need apply. Pfizer fits that bill, and just last week said it wants to be a "top-tier company in biotherapeutics," but the FTC might not like the combo. Sanofi-Aventis is actively on the prowl, too, and some experts have said it's a likely Biogen suitor. J&J is a possibility, analysts said. Merck is sitting on a pile of cash, too, and it poached Biogen's CFO a few months ago--might it want the rest of the company?

Other analysts say Eli Lilly and Wyeth are interested, but they're not on anyone's top three list. Some point to GlaxoSmithKline, while others say GSK's priorities don't match Biogen's. Roche is busy pursuing Ventana. Novartis has a competing interest in MS drugs. And count AstraZeneca out; it's still digesting the $15.6 billion MedImmune.

- see Biogen Idec's announcement on the sale
- check out the possible suitors from the Boston Globe
- read analyst speculation
- here's more analyst conjecture from CNBC

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