Will Trump’s election make pharma M&A great again?

Donald Trump

Good news, biopharma companies. Some industry watchers think a Donald Trump presidency could help the sector break out of its M&A lull.

One reason? A potential rise in valuations. Shares have been sagging under investor fears of drug-pricing reform--and while both Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton vowed action on that front during their campaigns, Clinton was seen as a bigger pharma foe. Biopharma stocks soared on Trump’s election, and if that upward trend continues, targets that have refused to sell at their depressed valuations may be willing to chat with wannabe acquirers, analysts and bankers told Reuters.

Another potentiality that could help rev things up: an influx of cash that’s currently stashed overseas. Trump has said that he plans to work with Congress on allowing U.S. companies to pay a lower tax rate when bringing that cash back home. That scenario would certainly help Pfizer, which says it has $80 billion overseas that it wants to bring stateside.

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While last year saw the industry shattering M&A records, 2016 has been a different story. Life sciences dealmaking is down 65% from last year, Reuters says.

If Trump proves a catalyst, though, companies may revisit some takeover-rumor favorites, including oncology specialist Tesaro and rare-disease drugmaker Sarepta Therapeutics.

Of course, the change won’t necessarily happen overnight, Reuters notes. Companies and investment banks will need time to assess whatever policies Trump brings to the table before they take any M&A leaps.

And PwC, which last month released its Global Pharma & Life Sciences Deals Insights Q3 2016 Update, doesn’t expect to see a quick turnaround either, considering the other factors affecting the M&A slowdown. While “deal volumes in the future have the ability to trend upward,” it’s more likely they’ll stay “depressed” until “uncertainty around general economic factors and industry conditions” are cleared up, the report authors wrote.


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