For deal junkies, the next 5-10 years should be quite interesting in the life sciences/health care industry. We have already seen large pharmaceutical company consolidations, financial buyers investing in health care institutions and partnerships between payors and providers. And much of this before the Supreme Court decided that health care reform is here to stay.
What is driving this? Need, opportunity, cash and innovation. Pharmaceutical company brand drugs are losing their patent protection, the cost/risk of developing new drugs is enormous, heath care costs need to be controlled, people are living longer, health care reform is triggering new behaviors and strategies and, despite the difficult financial times, there is much cash available for investment. Also, much of the broader life sciences/health care industry has been slow in technology adoption, while technology and social media continues advancing, being available to a broader segment of the population.
Every time we meet with private equity firms, they are enthusiastic when we talk about our health care practice and the opportunities we see for the various players in the industry we represent. Financial investors love dynamic industries where experience in driving change can accelerate growth and value – that is exactly where the life sciences/health care industry is today. Strategic players need to expand their offerings and opportunities – that is why you see many pharmaceutical companies buying device companies, service companies and technology companies – they want to be become a broader health care company.
So, as a transactional lawyer in the life sciences/health care industry, I am excited about the future, despite the rather lethargic broader economy. But time will tell how quickly people move, how resourceful people are and what roadblocks our elected officials and bureaucrats put in our way. I am hoping for the best for all of us.