1. Buyer: Amgen
Price: $10.4 billion
As analysts put it before the Onyx buyout, the California-based company was one of just a handful of smaller drugmakers with enough revenue and revenue potential to "move the needle" for big biopharma companies. So when Amgen ($AMGN) first came calling last summer with a $10 billion bid, Onyx spurned it to hold out for a better offer.
Amgen did ultimately prevail, with Onyx's price reportedly scaring off would-be buyers like Pfizer ($PFE). Amgen CEO Robert Bradway haggled down the cost somewhat by requesting interim trial data he knew Onyx couldn't reveal; when the company refused to unblind its Phase III study, he used it as grounds to pare down his next bid. Not long after, the two sides reached a deal somewhere in the middle.
At the center of that deal was Kyprolis, the hot-selling blood cancer med that scored $64 million between its July 2012 launch and the end of that year--despite competition from Celgene's ($CELG) Revlimid and Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Velcade. With four studies to support and extend Kyprolis' market position ongoing, analysts have predicted the multiple myeloma drug will generate $2.4 billion in 2019, with some thinking it will reach as high as $3 billion at its peak.
Whatever Kyprolis does churn out will take the pressure off Amgen's older meds, some of which--like anemia drug Epogen--now face biosimilar competition.
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-- Carly Helfand (email | Twitter)