“…….In recent months, Bristol studied a possible acquisition of Biogen Idec Inc.,BIIB +1.42% a $39 billion-market-cap biotechnology firm that makes drugs to treat neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, people familiar with the matter said. Last year, Bristol also engaged advisers to study a possible acquisition of ShireSHPG +2.81% PLC, a U.K. biotech whose drugs treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder and a range of rare diseases, other people familiar with the matter said. Shire has a market value of roughly $18 billion.
Bristol declined to comment about takeover or deal-making specifics, saying it doesn’t talk about market rumors or speculation. Biogen and Shire declined to comment.
Whether the leaner Bristol succeeds could prove a bellwether for the prospects of other drug makers that have simplified their businesses in the face of severe patent cliffs. Pfizer Inc., PFE +0.07% which lost its top-selling drug Lipitor in late 2011, has sold its infant-formula and animal-health businesses. Abbott Laboratories,ABT -0.56% concerned about the outsize sales of rheumatoid arthritis treatment Humira, split into medical-device and pharmaceuticals companies….”Twitter