Should AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (AZN) and Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) Get Married?

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It’s been quite a while since we had a big wedding in the pharma world. Sure, there have been plenty of small acquisitions, but no really big merger has happened over the past few years. One potential pharmaceutical friendship often rumored to possibly develop into something more serious involves AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) and Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY). Would a marriage between these two companies be a match made in heaven? Let’s take a look.

AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN)

Going to the chapel
If AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) and Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY). were people, we could easily spot one good reason for them to get married: They have a lot in common. Just look at the two companies’ portfolios.

Both organizations boast a strong presence in the cardiovascular market. AstraZeneca’s Crestor stands as a leading cholesterol drug with sales over $6.2 billion in 2012. Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) blood thinner, Plavix, brought in $2.5 billion in sales.

Neuroscience stands out as another strong area for both companies. AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) made $2.8 billion last year from Seroquel IR and Seroquel XR schizophrenia and bipolar disorder drugs. Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) Abilify treats the same indications and likewise brought in around $2.8 billion in 2012 sales.

Of course, it’s also important that married couples have differences that complement each other. That’s true for our two potential lovebirds. While sales for AstraZeneca’s Nexium and Losec/Prilosec are slowing down, they’re still contributing significantly. Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) doesn’t count any gastrointestinal products among its leading drugs.

However, Bristol-Myers Squibb can claim success in at least one area that isn’t strong for AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) – treatment of HIV and AIDS. Combined sales for the company’s Reyataz and Sustiva HIV drugs topped $3 billion last year.

Another argument in favor of AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) and Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) getting hitched is that they have children together. Well, sort of. Bristol-Myers Squibb bought Amylin Pharmaceuticals last year for around $7 billion. Nearly half of that amount was financed by AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) . Both companies share in the profits from Amylin’s diabetes drugs, including Bydureon and Byetta.

This wasn’t the first time AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) and Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) collaborated in the diabetes arena. The two companies previously developed Onglyza together. However, sales for Onglyza weren’t as strong as hoped for as Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)‘s Januvia won greater market share. They also partnered on Forxiga, which has encountered its own difficulties.

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