The urge to merge in the pharmaceutical industry has been strong in 2014. However, the ability to get a deal done and successfully integrate those that transpire is far from guaranteed. This might ring true particularly with the kind of high-profile deals we are seeing recently. Pharma might benefit from some insight into one such deal from the provider side of the business.
This spring Jim Mullen became CEO of DPx Holdings B.V., formed in a $2.65 billion transaction combining JLL Partners’ assets Patheon and Banner Life Sciences, with Royal DSM’s Pharmaceuticals Products business. Mullen previously held the title of CEO of Patheon. This was a large deal in the service provider sector. In a recent interview with Outsourced Pharma, Mullen walked us through some of the key elements that allowed the deal to transpire.
The first Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) annual conference and exhibition I attended was in 2000 in Boston. Early registrants had to be accompanied through cordoned walkways by Boston police mounted on large horses. There were crowds of people, some quite angry, waving creative signs and yelling about staying out of their genes and stopping the altering of their food.
I am not one to be overly squeamish, but I remember thinking it was fifty-fifty: Either a protester would get me or I would be trampled by one of the horses. I was working in economic development for the state of New York as a Senior Director of Industry Development, and had just been handed the biotech industry cluster. Now I thought I knew why. Maybe I should have asked a few more questions.
The most significant intellectual activity available to human beings is asking questions. A study of the creative but unfortunately under-utilized critical skill of questioning is documented in a new book by Warren Berget titled, “A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas,” published by Bloomsbury.
According to Berget and a variety of CEOs, researchers and other experts in this field, fundamental questioning can benefit start-ups and multi-nationals alike, including assisting in the discovery (or rediscovery) of the core reason for being in business.
Unfortunately, after what seems like a natural ability and inclination to ask literally thousands of questions when we are children, our schools and workplaces end up discouraging the use of questions. As a result, employees don’t bring the benefits of this skill to our organizations.
Outsourced Pharma got an early-bird look at the Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Deals Insights Quarterly analysis of M&A for Q1 2014 announced by press release today by PwC US (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP).
The results are impressive for all areas of the Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences (PLS) sector. In total, M&A volume increased 53.1 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. Company sentiment is trending in the right direction for more activity.
An intense shot of pain in my back and side dropped me to the floor. It did not subside. We called 911. A single dose of morphine eased the pain enough so the EMTs could put me on a gurney and into the ambulance for the ride to the emergency room. As I lay in the ambulance my mind wandered.
Morphine is espoused by patients with extreme pain, such as those recovering from major operations like mastectomies. Therefore, anyone over 21 years of age should be able to legally raise poppy plants and/or buy morphine for “recreational” use in their home. We’ll closely monitor any health or other social effects, such as teenage use and car accidents. Sound like a reasonable argument? If not, is there a difference between this thought process and the one of those advocating for legalizing marijuana in the U.S.?
The M&A news for big pharma has come so quickly thus far in 2014 that we could easily overlook the events that transpired in 2013. Fortunately, the folks at EvaluatePharma did not. Their 2013 report on the industry is a nice look at where we are coming from and allows us some reflection on what preceded the events that have occurred in this first half of 2014.
Out of all the charts and analysis in the report, one in particular lends some key perspective. The chart shows total pharma M&A deals (and market value) for the years 2008-2013. According to EvaluatePharma, in 2009 there were 169 deals valued at $142 billion. In 2013 there were also 169 deals, but this time valued at just $76 billion. It would be easy to conclude from these numbers that we are entering a period of limited deal-making in the industry, but events during the first half of 2014 now inform us that would most likely be the wrong conclusion.
Please consider giving us a bit of credit here at Outsourced Pharma. We reported, like everyone else, the news of Pfizer going after AstraZeneca. What we did not do was inundate you with a whole bunch of conjecture and speculation on the potential deal.
A lot of attention is of course expected and needed when the biggest pharma in the world goes after an international firm that also makes a lot of news. The media coverage has indeed been informative, well thought out, and thought provoking. It has also reached levels of opining on opinions of the opinions quoted by other sources.
Discussed has been what this deal might mean for the independent companies, respectively; their separate and combined pipelines and therapeutic areas of prowess; the portents for the entire pharma industry; the impact on patients and drug prices; employees and lay-offs; the economic development, tax policies, the national pride of the U.S. and U.K. governments; and the new combined corporate entity that then might be split up again. And all this is happening before we know if the merger is even going to occur.
In that neighborhood of Southeast Asia, Singapore gets the “merlion” share of the news when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry and CRO/CMO activity. The Jurong Island area alone boasts a list of pharmaceutical manufacturing companies. Next door, though, Malaysia has not been shy about sounding its own trumpet to the pharma and CRO/CMO industries. The following is from a mid-2012 interview with Leonard Ariff Abdul Shatar, President, Malaysian Organisation of Pharmaceutical Industries (MOPI), as reported in PharmaBoardRoom.com:
“To sum up the (Malaysian pharmaceutical) market is open, protected by patent recognition and the Ministry of Health has an active generics policy driven primarily by the rising cost of healthcare. The main asset of Malaysia for the large MNCs (multi-national companies) is an excellent contract manufacturing environment thanks to high standards. Malaysia may not be as cheap as a facility in Indonesia or an unregulated factory in India, but the assets of local companies in Malaysia have all been audited by international authorities. Malaysia is therefore the best manufacturing centre in South East Asia if not the whole of Asia.”
I’m not a biologist or chemist, but apply these disciplines to beer and my interest is immediately piqued. Mix in a discussion of outsourcing – contract brewing, if you will – and we add a dose of professional relevance as well. Yes, this article is related to the pharma industry, so stay with me here if the beer reference didn't wet your thirst.
First, though, an anecdote about the beer. It starts years ago when the production of my favorite brew was outsourced abroad to serve international markets. The taste never matched up to the original, as confirmed by aficionados of this brand around the world. I was recently reminded of this situation while reading a review in the Wall Street Journal of the new book The Craft Beer Revolution by Steve Hindy. For one thing, it appears outsourcing in the microbrew industry – the biotechs of beer – is being questioned. Would a microbrew from, for example, Brooklyn Brewery, be less than honest with its customers if they outsourced production far from the five boroughs?
According to a new report entitled CPhI Pharma Insights, pharma needs to drive manufacturing forward, and advancements should come from within companies, not from the outside push of regulatory bodies. Advancements coming from within will lead to lower costs and improved quality. When the advancements are pushed from the outside, they can keep prices high and hurt efficiencies.
The report, based on a cross-section of industry participants in a survey on manufacturing, is a succinct read and analysis of the current state and future needs in this segment of the pharmaceutical industry. What with recent and very publicized quality-related challenges in manufacturing – both at outsourced plants and internal facilities – it would have been surprising if quality hadn’t come out in the survey as the top focus for pharma. Indeed, “improving product quality” was ranked number one.