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Pharma

Big pharma’s billion-dollar bets

As patents lapse and funding on R&D is cut, big pharma is spending big money on risky takeovers to find the next blockbuster drug. In this animated film, Due Diligence's Arash Massoudi explains how Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $90bn takeover of Celgene has set the stage for more to come in 2019.

As investors have exerted pressure on big pharma to cut back spending on research and development that can result in expensive disappointments, incumbents have been acquiring smaller competitors to replenish drug pipelines.

Nimble start-ups, in contrast, are not weighed down by legacy businesses and can focus on innovation. Many fail but those that succeed, or even show promise by producing just one drug, instantly become takeover targets.

Underpinning these acquisitions is a gamble. Should a big company buy a start-up that has potential but has not proven its worth? Or wait and miss out on a short cut to high returns and new products?

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