FT: Amgen in the hunt for a $10B biotech buyout

Amgen CEO Robert Bradway

Amgen is jumping back into the M&A game. And it's looking for another Onyx-sized deal that can deliver a late-stage drug ready to be hustled across the finish line.

The Financial Times reported this morning that Amgen's ($AMGN) management team has been briefing investors about its plans to buy another biotech for about $10 billion. That's what the big biotech paid for Onyx, which netted the cancer drug Kyprolis, and it's in the same ballpark as Celgene's $7.2 billion deal for Receptos.

That Receptos buyout inspired a fresh surge for Celgene's share price, pushing analysts to join in the chorus for more such deals from a lengthy lineup of big biotechs. Gilead ($GILD) as well as Biogen ($BIIB) have been quietly encouraging about buyout speculation, while Pfizer ($PFE) recently stepped up with a new megamerger pitch for Allergan ($ACT).

Buyouts have long been seen as a quick way to build pipelines, but some of the biggest players have also been forced to pause as they consider the high prices that biotechs can fetch. Some of the froth has been taken out of biotech market valuations in recent weeks, though, which may make the sector more appealing for top dealmakers.

Initially, Amgen had promised to leave Onyx's R&D ops intact in its campus. But earlier this year the company decided to finally complete the process and absorb the company as Amgen pursued a company-wide reorganization that extended throughout the country, forcing the closure of a research center in Seattle.

Amgen isn't talking targets, according the the FT, but you can expect to hear plenty of speculation about potential deals in the weeks ahead.

- here's the FT report

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