Pharma: The new Big Biotech?

Do aging Big Biotech companies look more like Pharma--and has Big Pharma acquired enough new technology to qualify as biotech? That's the question posed by SeekinAlpha scribe Jason Chew. Pharma's much-discussed patent cliff is coming. The industry has already been hit by layoffs, aging products and declining sales numbers. But Big Biotech is also maturing. Many of the industry's top players are no longer the innovation machines the were a decade back, and they're facing many of the same problems that have plagued Big Pharma for years. Both pharma and big biotech have turned their attention to lifecycle management in addition to creating new drugs.

"In recent years, Big Pharma, through a combination of internal research and acquisitions, has accumulated as much biotechnology capabilities as any biotech. What is left to differentiate Big Pharma from Big Biotech?"asks Chew. While pharmas may be larger and more diverse, he postulates that biotechs will also have to look outside of their formerly narrow disease focus to capture other opportunities, like diagnostics, new diseases and biosimilars.

Big Pharma has spent the last several years cutting the fat while bolstering their pipelines with new drugs and technologies farmed from the biotech industry. After they've all gone over the patent cliff, companies will draw on those acquisitions, as well as partnerships forged with academic institutions, to get back to the business of innovation. And Chew believes when that day comes, we won't be able to tell the difference between Big Biotech and Big Pharma anymore.

- read the Seeking Alpha article for more