(Bloomberg) – Bristol Myers Squibb Co. has been a prolific negotiator in recent years, asserting itself as a leading manufacturer of cancer treatments with its acquisition of Celgene in 2019. Industry watchers are now wondering about their next decision.
Deals are a major driver of pharmaceutical activity. Mergers, acquisitions and partnerships help companies rebuild their portfolios and develop their scientific ambitions. But finding the right deal at the right price can be a challenge.
At the JPMorgan annual healthcare conference this week, Bloomberg spoke to some of the industry’s top M&A architects about what they expect in 2022. This episode features Elizabeth Mily, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Bristol Myers. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Bloomberg: What was your vision when you were hired in 2020?
A: When I got the call, BMS was at an inflection point, having just acquired and completed the Celgene acquisition. At the same time, CEO Giovanni Caforio has made a clear commitment to ensuring that there is the right investment to support the long-term growth of the company.
We are happy to have the financial flexibility to continue to make the investments that we consider important. We felt fortunate not to miss a beat during the pandemic given the importance of continued business development to our prior, midstream pipeline, and subsequent opportunities.
Bloomberg: What opportunities are you excited about?
A: Our long history is one of the leading oncology companies. Through the acquisition of Celgene, we have made this part of the largest and most successful hematology franchise. We have an early but exciting business franchise in the cell therapy field. We also have one of the longest histories in the cardiovascular field. These are all fundamental pillars for BMS. We are excited about our growing space in Immunology.
We try not to rule things out just because they’re not necessarily part of our therapeutic footprint today, but at the same time, we try to stay fairly disciplined.
Bloomberg: How does all the money pouring into space affect your ability to make deals?
A: Businesses didn’t have to look to pharma for financial support because the money was available from private and public investors. Even though the biotech market is under quite a bit of pressure, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s very difficult to figure out how to come to a deal that makes sense for both the buyer and the seller, because you have to agree on the evaluation. the potential is.
If you end up with a much more sustained period in which asset values ââare depressed, people’s expectations will reset. But at the moment, I’m not sure if people’s expectations have reset enough.
Bloomberg: Do you take the new Federal Trade Commission regime into account in your decisions?
A: I would never want to speculate on the actions or intentions of the FTC, but I think I and all other business leaders welcome the certainty of our regulators. This may very well have an impact on how companies view future trades and their tolerance for risk, but I don’t think it changes for the industry or for us the way we think about deals we would like to close. And I don’t think that makes the chords go away.
Bloomberg: What do you see for the future of business?
A: I’ll take the example of the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. While it can be really exhausting, there is so much going on. You launch the dialogue for the year around news, what is happening, the development of new business. Now is the time to find people you have known for a long time and meet new people.
We organize some 300 meetings with collaborative partners large and small. A lot of energy emerges from this meeting. While we can be efficient using Microsoft Teams or Zoom, the reality is that face-to-face interaction always adds a lot of benefits.
I don’t think we will ever return 100% in person. The new normal will depend more on some form of virtual support, but there is a lot that you miss by not being able to meet in person.
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