Gangbuster success at Bristol-Myers makes it a top takeover candidate

It's no secret that Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) has had a big run at the FDA, winning an approval for Yervoy and looking good on the Eliquis (apixaban) anti-clotting front--no easy feat. And with the shine of pipeline success--at a time a potential competitor is facing trials and tribulations at the FDA--comes the inevitable discussions of a potential takeover.

"We expect underlying revenue and EPS growth will rapidly take off mid-term," say the influential analysts at Jefferies. "This is likely to make the company a prime target for acquisition."

In biopharma, of course, opposites attract. And that makes Pfizer--which has had plenty of development issues, even though it has had recent R&D successes--a likely candidate for a potential matchup. Pfizer ($PFE), of course, is also partnered with BMS on apixaban, which helps improve the odds that it might like one more big merger to cure what has ailed the Big Pharma.

"Two very positive things have happened," notes Jefferies. "Firstly Yervoy has got off to a spectacular launch during Q2'11. Secondly, the competitive landscape for SPAF has shifted dramatically in favour of Eliquis." He's referring to Xarelto, another clot buster from Bayer and J&J which has been subjected to intense criticism in an internal FDA review. Some analysts feel that even if it is approved, regulators may insist that Xarelto be restricted to patients who fail other therapies. And that would make apixaban worth considerably more.

- check out the Wall Street Journal piece
- and here's a Dividend note