M&A has become an increasingly expensive method of securing new assets, capabilities and growth for pharmaceutical companies. This has been a natural consequence of the combination of an abundance of cheap capital with the relentless ticking clock of patent expiries. Cheap capital puts pressure on large firms to “do something”, and in most cases acquiring companies (at a price) can appear quicker and easier than building them. Patent expiries create the constant need for pharma companies to find profits from new products to replace those lost to genericisation. In this paper we argue that for most companies the price required to secure a company through M&A is now too high. We then suggest focused entrepreneurship as the response that will create value for the pharma companies’ owners and great medicines for patients and consumers.
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We have worked collaboratively with Novasecta over many years across a range of strategic topics. I have particularly valued how they really understand and care about our business, and how they manage to apply their deep industry insights to our context. This has brought my Management Team and Board to clarity and alignment on practical strategic moves at important moments in our evolution as a company.Kjetil Hestdal