Biotech Voices

Biotech voices: Allergan CEO Saunders isn’t slowing down on a brisk pace of biotech dealmaking

Brent Saunders, CEO Allergan

Last year, Allergan did 12 “stepping-stone” deals, snapping up a whole slate of new development programs, expanding its pipeline and setting the pace as one of the busiest dealmakers in biotech.

2017 shouldn’t be much different.

During Wednesday’s Q&A with analysts, CEO Brent Saunders said that Allergan spent $5 billion on transactions last year – $3 billion of that going for LifeCell – with a heavy emphasis on accretive pacts.

“I suspect you’ll see that be the case in 2017,” said Saunders. “Obviously, we are opportunistic. If great science or something profound came through, that could be subject to change, but we are focused on having more weight towards accretive transactions that are strategically sound and growth oriented in 2017 while still continuing to invest in science and building out our pipeline.

“With respect to integrations, it is a core competency of Allergan. Rob Stewart leads the integration group. We do have this down to a science. And considering the types of integrations or pre-integrations we did last year, whether it be Pfizer or the Teva divestiture, the things that we’ve been doing on the stepping-stone on a relative basis seem simple. Yet we do treat each one very seriously. We’ve really tried to integrate the cultures and learnings from what made the smaller company successful, and we try to treat people as fairly and as appropriately as possible. And I think our track record speaks for itself.

“Our colleagues are generally eager to join the company. A great example in R&D, for example, is Tobira, where we went into NASH, an adjacency. The Tobira team, led by Laurent Fischer, stayed and is now our liver and NASH R&D group inside of the R&D organization, staying in their same office in South San Francisco and continuing to think even bigger about how to solve the disease than they were as a standalone. So we do really try to do these thoughtfully. Next question?”

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