The first large drug transaction of the year was Shire Plc (SHP)’s agreement Sunday to buy rare-disease treatment developer NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NPSP) for $5.2 billion.
Biogen Idec Inc. also struck a deal of up to $675 million for a company with an experimental pain medicine.
More takeovers of young companies with promising new remedies may follow as drugmakers look for ways to stoke growth.
Last year’s record amount of biotech initial public offerings is giving acquirers an even bigger pool of candidates to choose from, with innovative therapies in profitable treatment areas such as liver disease and cancer.
It adds to a list of potential targets that were already on analysts’ radar, including Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ACHN) and Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals Inc.