Valeant CEO scanning biopharma horizon for fresh targets

Valeant Pharmaceuticals ($VRX) CEO Michael Pearson didn't take much time to get over the loss of Cephalon ($CEPH). Ever the hunter, Pearson tells Reuters that "time is the enemy." And right now the clock is ticking down to another takeover deal.

This next one is likely to be a specialty pharma player as well. It could also well be another multibillion-dollar play. "We felt very comfortable doing Cephalon," Pearson noted to the wire service. "We could do a little bit more if we needed to."

Biotech investors, who have now become quick students in the lesson of biopharma M&A activity, were out in force yesterday trying to anticipate just where Valeant is likely to land next. As a result shares of Forest Labs, Endo, Jazz, Medicis and Salix all spiked on the rumors.

This year has seen a lengthy string of acquisitions. With IPOs difficult if not impossible to pull off without plenty of support from venture backers, buyouts offer biotech investors one clean and quick way to exit with a nice payback for the risk they've taken. For Valeant, which has sworn off early-stage drug research, acquisitions offer a chance to grow the company's product list. That strategy has paid off handsomely for the Canadian company and Pearson isn't about to stop now.  

"Cephalon is not a unique asset," said the CEO. "There are others out there that are consistent with our strategy. "We're moving forward. We will find other strategic assets."

- here's the story from Reuters