AstraZeneca recognised as pharma’s ‘top dealmaker’

Datamonitor Healthcare report names AstraZeneca the industry’s most active dealmaker during the past five years

AstraZeneca has successfully been striking deals at an industry-leading rate over the past five years, with a concerted surge in both out-licensing and in-licensing work, according to a new report,  Pharma Licensing Trends, 2014–18.

Analysts Datamonitor Healthcare put AstraZeneca comfortably ahead of other pharmaceutical firms, recognising the company as the most active dealmaker between 2014 and 2018, during which time it also signed the sector’s largest single deal.

The company’s deal-making, in particular its out-licensing activity, demonstrates the potential for business development to revamp a company’s portfolio and strategy.

Datamonitor report: Big Pharma Licensing Trends, 2014-18

AstraZeneca divested medicines that fell outside its main therapy areas while acquiring novel pipeline and portfolio assets to strengthen the company’s pipeline.

Since 2014, this dedicated work has yielded no fewer than 169 agreements, 66 of which were out-licensing deals, putting AstraZeneca at the top of the analysts’ deal-making charts.

Notably, between 2015 and 2017, AstraZeneca entered 53 out-licensing deals – more in three years than any other large pharmaceutical company achieved in five years – showcasing the company’s ability to realise value from non-core assets while ensuring continued patient access to these important medicines.

Efforts to find new assets were concentrated on the company’s focus areas of oncology; cardiovascular, renal and metabolism; and respiratory.

Nearly half of the deals struck were in oncology, where AstraZeneca’s ambition is to change the practice of medicine and transform the lives of patients living with cancer.

It’s worth noting that beyond the deals that met the criteria of the Datamonitor report, AstraZeneca’s partnering efforts includes many more deals across all stages of its pipeline and value chain. 

Datamonitor noted in its report that AstraZeneca’s award-winning $8.5bn partnership with Merck & Co was the single biggest pharma deal in the past five years and added that some of the company’s collaboration deals demonstrated “a willingness to share risk and reward around some of the company’s most prominent but expensive assets”.

Between 2015 and 2017, AstraZeneca entered into 53 out-licensing deals (more in three years than any other Big Pharma did in five years).

Datamonitor report: Big Pharma Licensing Trends, 2014-18