MedImmune is a biotechnology company based in Gaithersbug, Maryland. Currently the company has five products on the market: Synagis, CytoGam, RespiGam, Ethyol, and NeuTrexin. These medications target small markets of patients with auto-immune disorders, treating either respiratory illnesses or cancer. In addition, the company has several medications currently under development, including one in the preclinical phase, three in phase I of clinical trials, three in phase II trials, four in phase III, and one in phase IV efficacy trials. Due to the nature of the medical industry and regulations on testing and approval for drugs, it could be several years before any of these medications currently under development could obtain approval and be marketed.
MedImmune is currently in a healthy financial position where sales almost reached $500M in 2000, an increase of 40% from the previous year 1999. However, since drugs typically see declining sales the longer they are on the market, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies always depend on the continuous development and approval of new medications. While tax credits and research grants are available to companies that serve rare diseases, as an incentive to undertake the costly development process for drugs that will not be as widely marketable as those that cater to mass diseases, MedImmune has considered acquiring another biotechnology firm to expand its market share.
The most likely candidate for the acquisition is Aviron, a biopharmaceutical company based in California that specializes in the development and research of viral vaccines. Aviron is the manufacturer of FluMist, and nasal vaccine for influenza. Since FluMist is less invasive than other influenza vaccines, and because the flu is mass disease, the vaccine has great potential high sales and revenue. The acquisition presents a good opportunity for MedImmune to generate a significant growth in the short and long term....