Bristol-Myers Squibb

With cash to burn, pharma deals are all the rage

Data: 2019 EY M&A Firepower report and Axios reporting; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pharmaceutical industry has already shelled out more than $200 billion for acquisitions during the first half of 2019, capped off yesterday by AbbVie's $63 billion buyout offer for Allergan.

The big picture: This year's deal-making has already surpassed 2017 and 2018, as drug companies plan for patent losses and jockey for lucrative assets that are advancing in clinical trials, including gene therapies.

Bristol-Myers to divest $1.6 billion drug to clear antitrust

A sign with the Bristol-Myers Squibb name and logo.
Bristol-Myers will divest a major Celgene drug. Photo: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

As a condition of Federal Trade Commission approval for its takeover of Celgene, Bristol-Myers Squibb plans to sell off Otezla, a psoriasis drug made by Celgene that generated $1.6 billion of worldwide revenue in 2018.

Why it matters: The FTC seems worried Bristol-Myers would hold too much power in the psoriasis market; it has a psoriasis drug in development and sells Orencia, which treats psoriatic arthritis. The Otezla divestiture would significantly cut the value of the Celgene deal, and sent Bristol-Myers' stock down 7%.