When it comes to go-aheads in irritable bowel syndrome, the FDA was busy Wednesday, approving the indication for a pair of drugs. And now, it looks as if recent M&A moves to acquire those drugs are about to pay off for Valeant and Actavis.
A little more than a year after Forest Labs bought out Furiex and its experimental irritable bowel syndrome drug eluxadoline in a $1.5 billion deal, Brent Saunders and Forest-buyer Actavis have scored an FDA approval that should surprise no one. And the agency paired the approval with a green light for Valeant's Xifaxan (rifaximin) in IBS, another drug that's been changing hands lately in the frenzy of M&A deals that has been changing the face of the industry.
New-look Actavis--soon to be Allergan--has been undergoing plenty of changes since it agreed in November to shell out $66 billion for the Botox maker. And as it continues to integrate Allergan's ops, it's shaving away at the workforce it inherited from its prior pickup, Forest Labs.
Actavis nabbed a big portfolio of branded products when it bought Forest Laboratories earlier this year. But it also inherited a quality-control problem.
The Sunshine Act data's been out in the open for a couple of days now (well--most of it), and despite the database's clunkiness, the number crunching is well underway. The Wall Street Journal, for one, has broken down which pharma companies topped the doc-paying list in a variety of different spending categories.
Some analysts called it a cheap trick when Forest Laboratories said it would stop making the Alzheimer's drug Namenda this fall so it could push patients to switch to their new long-acting version as generic rivals to the original loom. New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman calls the tactic something else: illegal.
There are winners and losers in mergers, and as a general rule, executives win and at least some workers lose. That certainly is the case with Actavis and Forest Laboratories. While nearly 200 Forest employees in the St. Louis, MO, area got pink slips this week, top execs will receive up to $186 million in "merger success awards" for closing the $25 billion deal.
In an about-face, Forest Laboratories says it will continue to sell its original version of the Alzheimer's treatment Namenda into the fall of 2014, rather than taking it off the market in August.
Back in February, notorious rebel investor Carl Icahn promoted a Forest deal to sell itself to Actavis as a momentous victory for shareholders. But while investors may have agreed with the principle of a transaction, it turns out not all of them were so happy with the way Forest made the sale--and to whom.
When Actavis CEO Paul Bisaro announced his big buyout of Forest Laboratories, he sketched a picture of a brand-plus-generic powerhouse with lower costs and bigger revenue prospects. Now, it will be Forest CEO Brent Saunders who colors in those lines as chief executive of the merged company.