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One of the major reasons behind Pfizer's (PFE) interest in acquiring Wyeth (WYE) is the latter's focus on products outside of traditional pharmaceuticals – with 60% of Wyeth's revenue from last year derived from biological therapeutics and vaccines. It remains to be seen what happens to Wyeth's proposed deal to acquire Dutch vaccine maker Crucell (CRXL); however since it is much smaller (around $1B) and focuses on the development of vaccines, Pfizer would likely be interested in both companies together.

With the focus on preventive medicine likely continue in the form of continued M&A, healthcare reform to emphasize cancer screening tests, and a trend toward personalized medicine; the two tables included below highlight about 100 U.S.-listed companies involved in a variety of preventive medicine businesses. The first includes 67 companies in the ETF Innovators Preventive Medicine Index, which is comprised of the following healthcare business segments:

  1. Vaccine makers such as Crucell, Emergent BioSolutions (EBS), Novavax (NVAX), Vical (VICL), and Nabi Biopharma (NABI)
  2. Diagnostics and lab services – with 33 companies highlighted in my article from last week, in addition to Celera (CRA) which was not mentioned
  3. Diabetes care companies such as Novo Nordisk (NVO) and Insulet (PODD)
  4. Preventive health and wellness program administrators such as Healthways (HWAY)
  5. Safety and sterilization companies such as Stericycle (SRCL), Ecolab (ECL), Steris (STE)
  6. Outpatient medical centers which perform diagnostic screening tests such as AmSurg (AMSG)
  7. Research tool companies which supply equipment, systems, and supplies to the diagnostics industry such as Life Technologies (LIFE), Illumina (ILMN), and Affymetrix (AFFX)


The table below includes 39 companies in the Emerging Diagnostics Index, which represents smaller companies with market caps below $150M.

Electro-Optical Sciences (MELA) – MELA has pending clinical trial results for MelaFind diagnostic screening test for melanoma, which will support a FDA application if positive.

EXACT Sciences (EXAS) – EXAS has an all-stock $1.50 per share exchange offer on the table from Sequenom (SQNM), which was turned down by EXACT's Board on the grounds of pursuing a more lucrative deal for shareholders – who eagerly anticipate more details as there have been none since the refusal was announced nearly two weeks ago.

CombiMatrix (CBMX) – CBMX is a molecular diagnostics company with 12 tests on the market which is developing a comprehensive cancer array that is designed to be an early warning detection system for a broad range of cancers. The blood test would be given at annual physicals and CBMX hopes to launch by mid-2010.

Home Diagnostics (HDIX) HDIX has increased by about 25% since I profiled the stock in mid-December as a value buy and the Company recently announced a new $5M share repurchase program, which should help establish a higher stock price base around the $6 level as it progresses through short-term challenges associated with new product launches.



Source: Healthcare Reform, M&A Likely to Focus on Preventative Medicine