Firms that produce monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have proven to be a popular acquisition choice for pharmaceutical companies. Some of the larger acquisitions of mAb producers by pharmaceutical companies this year were Bristol-Myers Squibb’s purchase of Adnexus for $415 million in September and Roche’s $56.5 million payout for Therapeutic Human Polyclonals in April. This trend can be attributed to pharmaceutical companies’ need to keep their product pipelines full and to several qualities of mAbs that make them particularly attractive to pharma. These include relatively short development times, a higher chance of successfully passing through clinical trials, common use in cancer treatment and a long market life. Even follow-on mAbs are not likely to be discounted at the same rate as follow-on small molecule drugs, as the complexity involved in producing mAbs would drive prices of the generic versions of these products higher. However, many biotech companies are sidestepping the follow-on concept by developing mAbs that improve on products already on the market.

Source: Nature Biotechnology

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