Top 10 deals of 2008

Biotechs and generic drugmakers were a hot commodity in 2008. Millennium, ImClone, Actelion and Isis Pharmaceuticals all snared hefty deals with Big Pharma companies looking to expand their presence in the biotech drug market. Biologics are less susceptible to generic competition--an important consideration for companies that are facing the loss of patent protection for bestselling drugs in the next few years. And with a new administration coming into office, drugmakers read the writing on the wall and partnered with generic operations such as Barr, Ranbaxy and Zentiva, which have established business in place that will help Big Pharma deal with the booming generic drug market.

The biggest deal that didn't get done was, of course, Roche's proposed $43 billion buyout of Genentech. Roche says it's still committed to the massive deal, which would certainly be one of the biggest deals of 2009 if it goes through. That left the Novartis/Alcon deal in the top spot. Novartis bought the eye care company for a whopping $39 million in a move to diversify its its business operations. Additionally, Alcon's eye products are not subject to many of the price constraints that the government and insurers are placing on branded drugs.

1. Novartis and Alcon - $39B

2. Takeda and Millennium‎ - $8.8B

3. Teva and Barr - $7.46B

4. Eli Lilly and ImClone - $6.5B

5. Daiichi and Ranbaxy - $4.6B

6. Roche and Ventana - $3.4B

7. GSK and Actelion - $3.25B

8. Sanofi and Zentiva - $2.6B

9. Genzyme and Isis - $1.9B

10. Lilly and Covance - $1.6B

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