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Which Biotech Company Is the Next Takeover Target?
CNBC.com | January 09, 2012 | 05:52 PM EST

Merger Monday kicks off the JPMorgan Health Care conference with Bristol Meyers acquiring Inhibitex, a small biotech firm that is working on a Hepatitis C treatment.

The deal is not a huge surprise as there has been ongoing speculation about accelerated deal flow in 2012, specifically within the Hepatitis C space. I spoke about Inhibitex among others being an acquisition target on CNBC last Friday. The Bristol Meyers acquisition of Inhibitex was announced on Saturday.

The question the becomes: What’s the next takeover target as large drug makers look to build out their pipeline?

Taking a poll of hedge fund managers that invest in the biotech space, all arrows point to Idenix Pharmaceuticals and Achillion Pharmaceuticals. Sources say Johnson & Johnson and Amgen have their eyes on these two players within the Hepatitis C market. Both stocks (Idenix and Achillion) are trading at their highest level since 2007 on buyout speculation.

Idenix currently has a Hepatitis C treatment in development. While Achillion Pharmaceuticals has five experimental Hepatitis C drugs in development. Drug makers who are looking to enter this profitable space that is pegged to be a $16 billion market by 2015, also have their eyes on this one.

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