Webinar

Antitrust in Life Sciences #2 Life Science Mergers II: Innovation, Exclusion & Killer Acquisitions

2nd webinar of the 2nd « Antitrust in Life Sciences » Conference organised by Concurrences, in partnership with Arnold & Porter, Bates White Economic Consulting, Copenhagen Economics and Dechert, with Mike Cowie (Partner, Dechert), Niels Ersbøll (Partner, Arnold & Porter), Thomas Horton (Professor, University of South Dakota), Pauline Kennedy (Principal, Bates White Economic Consulting), Norbert Maier (Managing Economist, Copenhagen Economics) and Noel Watson-Doig (Senior Counsel Global Pharma Competition Law and Legal Operations, GSK).

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SYNTHESIS

Thomas Horton introduced the discussion, referring to the much-discussed paper by Colleen Cunningham, Florian Ederer, and Song Ma. In this paper named “Killer Acquisitions”, the authors argue that incumbent firms in pharma may acquire innovative targets solely to discontinue the target’s innovation projects and to preempt future competition. They conservatively estimated based on their econometrics that 5.3–7.4 percent of acquisitions in pharma were killer acquisitions. In addition, they found that those acquisitions disproportionately occurred just below the thresholds for antitrust scrutiny. This paper has been much debated, and variations on its themes have emerged. Enforcers and lawmakers have taken steps to investigate the matter. In September 2019, nine U.S. senators sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission Chair urging greater scrutiny of pharmaceutical antitrust issues and expressing serious concerns about anti-competitive impacts of deals and mergers and acquisitions and collaborations on innovation as well as pricing.

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