Sanofi, Merck and Novartis top pharma M&A in recent years

Despite a temporary slowdown during the early days of the pandemic, the pharma sector has witnessed a steady rise in M&A activity over the years. The number of deals climbed from 23 in 2018 to 43 in 2022. Major players driving this trend include Sanofi, Merck & Co. and Novartis. Those three players have made significant acquisitions to bolster  core assets and capabilities in specialized areas such as immunology, oncology and gene therapy.

For instance, in 2022, Merck acquired Prometheus Biosciences for $11 billion to strengthen its presence in immunology, while Sanofi purchased Provention Bio for roughly $2.9 billion to add a first-in-class therapy for type 1 diabetes. Novartis has also been on the hunt, with approximately $31 billion in deals since 2018 that have strengthened its Innovative Medicines portfolio.

Bar chart showing the top 10 most active pharmaceutical companies in M&A activity fr…

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Novartis to spend up to $3.5 billion to acquire Chinook amid pharma M&A upsurge in 2023

Eyeing the booming renal therapeutics market, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG plans to spend up to $3.5 billion on Chinook Therapeutics. The deal marks the latest in a string of high-profile mergers and acquisition (M&A) deals in the pharma sector over the past roughly half year.

Chinook’s kidney disease specialization in the Novartis M&A equation

At the heart of the deal is Chinook’s specialization in precision medicines for kidney disease.

The rising prevalence of chronic kidney disease, which affects roughly 10% of the global population, according to the National Kidney Foundation, underscores the urgency of addressing renal disorders.

The growing prevalence of diabetes, a core contributor to the rise of renal disorders, has stimulated the market for therapies for chronic kidney disease.

This bar chart shows Novartis acquisitions over the past three years. The transaction amou…

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