Tuesday, January 06, 2009

And the DOTY Goes To ... Alnylam/Takeda

The illustrious academy of IN VIVO Blog readers has spoken. And the Deal Of The Year bragging rights goes to ... Alnylam Pharmaceuticals' RNA interference alliance with Takeda Pharmaceuticals!

More than 2500 votes were cast in our inaugural competition and Alnylam/Takeda led the polling from start to finish. To be sure, there was rationale to vote for any of the nominees--that is, after all, why we chose the wide variety of deals we did: each was impressive, groundbreaking, interesting in its own way, and almost always illustrating an important trend in business development, regulation, or corporate strategy.

Before we say a few words about the winning Alnylam/Takeda deal, let us say a few words about some deals that weren't recognized with a nomination in this year's DOTY (the Dotties?).

First: Roche/Genentech. We struggled with this deal, which surely would have been competitive had it been nominated. Why wasn't it? Well, it's not quite a deal yet, is it? Good luck in 2009, R/G. You've inspired so many other deals through the years--including Infinity/Purdue/Mundipharma, which we were sure would have done better in the polling--and you may yet get your chance to shine in a future Dotties competition.

Others have quibbled with the omission of Lilly's acquisition of Imclone, to which we say that all the drama doesn't catapult it over what we felt was a better example of the big-oncology-acquisition-trend: Takeda/Millennium. Lilly/Imclone had the added twist of a successful shareholder activist calling the shots, and the third party billion-dollar winner in BMS, but we went with Tak/Millennium and believe that the results of the poll support that decision. (click the image below for full results)

On to the award. We've discussed the case for this alliance already: In these cash-constrained times, the deal allows Alnylam to end the year with approximately $500 million in cash and sets the RNAi pioneer up for pipeline building down the road. It makes Takeda the sole big RNAi player in Japan and cements the Japanese pharma's place among the most active and creative dealmakers of 2008. The full pitch is here.

Unlike this deal, the 2008 DOTY award isn't non-exclusive. We can't award it again next week or next month. Congratulations to Takeda (surely the Deal-Maker of the year by our poll results) for having a hand in more than 50% of the votes. And congratulations to Alnylam, who we're hoping will now share some of its beer. We've invited Alnylam to represent this deal and provide an acceptance speech of sorts, which will appear on the blog later this week.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming!

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