Events of the past few weeks have added fuel to the theme of 1995 as the Year of the Deal. But the image of a constant deal flow does little to elucidate what the industry will come out looking like at the other end.

For the past two years or so, we've listened to a growing debate about consolidation in the biotech sector, with a few hardy expansionists predicting the industry will continue to increase in size, and consolidationists seeing a mature industry shrinking to a handful of large, successful companies. The emerging picture being painted by the actual flow of deals finally provides some substance for this debate.