Lately, pharma company acquisitions in biotech have been plays for late-stage products. But Merck & Co. Inc.'s first-ever biotech acquisition, an $87 million cash take-out of Sibia Neurosciences Inc., was made primarily for SIBI's early stage platform technologies.

"The rationale for the acquisition was not for Sibia's Phase II products but for their strong basic research in CNS disorders," said Merck spokesperson Gwen Fisher. "Additionally, a U.S. neuroscience presence allows us to recruit quality researchers that