Pfizer Acquires Anacor, Reviving M&A Bets in Biotech Sector, ETFs

Revitalizing the merger and acquisition outlook for biotech sector exchange traded funds, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) announced it will buy biopharma company Anacor Pharmaceuticals (NasdaqGS: ANAC).

Pfizer paid a 55% premium to Anacor’s closing price last Friday for $5.2 billion, gaining control over an experimental eczema treatment crisaborole, which posted strong results in Phase 3 clinical trials, reports Charley Grant for the Wall Street Journal. Pfizer projected that crisaborole could potentially generate annual sales of over $2 billion.

ANAC shares surged 56.4% on Monday while PFE gained 0.5%.

Related: Capitalizing on the Biotech Rebound with Leveraged ETFs

The acquisition could help renew investment interest for further M&A activity. For instance, Pfizer held $19.4 billion in cash and short-term investments on hand before the deal. Chief Executive Officer Ian Read said previously said that Pfizer was searching for products that are close to hitting the market and considered a split of the business in the wake of the failed Allergan (NYSE: ACT) acquisition.

“It’s the first of many transactions that Ian will do,” John Boris, a SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Inc. analyst, told Bloomberg.

The buyout also bolstered biotechnology sector-related ETFs with a small-cap tilt. For instance, the ALPS Medical Breakthroughs ETF (NYSEArca: SBIO) focuses on small- and mid-cap companies that have one or more drugs in either Phase II or Phase III U.S. FDA clinical trials. The broader SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSEArca: XBI) follows an equal-weight index of biotechnology companies, with 23.9% in micro-caps, 35.7% small-caps and 22.2% mid-caps. ANAC makes up 3.4% of SBIO and 2.0% of XBI.

On Monday, SBIO increased 4.7% and XBI rose 4.1%.

Related: Hit The Lab With These 17 Biotech ETFs

Additionally, the cap-weighted iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NasdaqGS: IBB) gained 3.0% Monday while the broader Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV) returned 1.5%.

For more news and strategy on the Biotech ETF market, visit our Biotech category.

ALPS Medical Breakthroughs ETF (NYSEArca: SBIO)


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