Mergers and acquisition activity fell dramatically in the first quarter, with only $569 million in transactions – a 73 percent drop compared to the previous quarter. Only seven deals took place, less than half of those previously reported for Q4, 2007.
By far the most significant deal in the quarter involved Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' (Nasdaq: TEVA) $400 million acquisition of CoGenesys, itself a spinout of Human Genome Sciences (Nasdaq: HGSI). The generic-drug maker's acquisition of a protein-drug developer probably had less to do with its interest in the CoGenesys pipeline than in its biologics manufacturing capacity, which could be turned to the manufacture of generic biologics – particularly if the U.S. joins Europe in creating a regulatory pathway for biogenerics.
About the only other deal of note was Invitrogen's $57 million purchase of CellzDirect, a Research Triangle Park, N.C., startup that produces liver-cell-based products for screening and testing drug candidates. Wright Medical (Nasdaq: WMGI) also shelled out $27 million to acquire InBone Technologies, a maker of spinal-fusion and ankle-replacement implants.
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