Breaking the spell in Germany?

Despite the bursting of the biotech bubble in 2000, almost no German companies have opted for M&A as a way to build critical mass and attract larger funding rounds. Indeed, there was only one significant German biotech merger last year, when Curacyte AG merged with fellow Munich company VitaResc Biotech AG to extend its portfolio from preclinical to Phase III compounds.

Maybe it is no surprise that last week's second post-bubble German merger also was driven by former pharma executives. On the one hand, Biofrontera Pharmaceuticals GmbH (Leverkusen, Germany) is headed by Hermann Lübbert, former head of the department for neurogenetics at Novartis AG. On the other hand, merger partner Kiadis B.V. (Leiden, the Netherlands) is led by Gerard Dijkstra, a former director of biotechnology at Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Dijkstra took the CEO position at Kiadis in 2001 to lead the company's transition to products, and Lübbert never

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