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Jefferies' Picks For 2017's Most And Least Likely Biotech M&A Targets

Gilead Sciences, Inc. NASDAQ:GILD, Intercept NASDAQ:ICPT - Jefferies' Picks For 2017's Most And Least Likely Biotech M&A Targets

The total number of M&A deals dipped a bit in 2016, but total deal value surged 44 percent to $218.9 billion. With interest rates still historically low and the U.S. economy still firing on all cylinders, 2017 will likely be another strong year for M&A deals.

One sector that may be particularly ripe for buyouts is the discounted biotech sector, which had a tough year in 2016. With many of these stocks trading at a discount to where they were a year ago, biotech M&A interest may start to pick up soon.

Jefferies analyst Brian Abrahams is cognizant of slowing volumes and increasing competition in the space, but he still believes that there will be plenty of biotech deals this year.

“We see a stabilizing political backdrop and increasingly pro-industry regulatory environment offsetting some of the negativity, and believe an uptick in M&A should catalyze momentum particularly for mid-caps and help improve mixes sentiment,” Abrahams explains.

A survey of buy-side investors found that the most likely biotech buyout targets in 2017 are Incyte Corporation INCY, TESARO Inc TSRO and Actelion Ltd ALIOF.

The survey suggests the least likely biotech M&A targets include Gilead Sciences, Inc. GILD, Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc ICPT and Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc IONS.

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