The prices being paid in the recent rash of pharmaceutical acquisition deals are “breath-taking,” Schering-Plough CEO Fred Hassan said in an interview with Marketwatch.com.
“They would have been unthinkable five years ago,” Hassan said.
According to Hassan, the takeover craze has been fueled by a recent rash of patent expirations–Merck’s Zocor, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Pravachol and Pfizer’s Zoloft.
“The industry’s R&D engines are struggling to keep up with the expirations,” Hassan said.
Hassan said his company doesn’t feel as strong a need to make a major merger or acquisition deal, “as our existing products (patents) go into the next decade.”
Hassan also thinks his company can grow with its existing pipeline.
Products in development include:
*A Phase II blood thinner that could rival or be used in combination with Plavix
*The Phase II HIV treatment vicriviroc
*A protease inhibitor to treat hepatitis C, currently in Phase II testing
* Golimumab, a potential successor to the rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade, in Phase II testing
When asked about rumors suggesting Schering-Plough is eyeing a possible merger with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Hassan declined to comment.
“But it’s nice that we’re doing so well that people are talking about us that way,” he said.