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A look back at 2014

Happenings in Local Biotech – “Merger Mania!”

If you’re familiar with Smart-Tek you know that we spend a lot of our time working with Biotech and Pharmaceutical companies. In 2014, Boston area Biotech’s had an all-time record number of IPO’s with 17, slaughtering the old record of 9 that was set just a year earlier. It seems that the Biotech Hub in Massachusetts has reclaimed the unofficial title of “THE place to be” for both established and start-up Biotech companies.

We’re deeming 2014 “Merger Mania”. Covidien, Idenix Pharmaceuticals and Cubist Pharmaceuticals all were (or still are) in the process of being acquired in multi-billion dollar deals. Idenix Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Merck in June for $3.9 billion. Merck was not done, in December they scooped up Cubist Pharmaceuticals for $8.4 billion. This gave the 2nd largest American pharmaceutical company control of the Antibiotics space, strengthening their position within hospitals. The blockbuster of the year was certainly Minneapolis based Medtronic’s merger with Covidien for $43 billion. One that would have exceeded that number would have been AbbVie’s takeover of Shire, worth $55 billion, which fell through after the U.S. Treasury made tax inversions less profitable. This proved lucrative for Shire, earning them $1.6 billion in a breakup payment….not too shabby. This trend seems as if it will continue into 2015. Just this week Shire announced plans to acquire NPS Pharmaceuticals for $5.2 billion. Also this week, a partnership was announced that would give Roche majority ownership in Foundation Medicine, dumping over $1 billion for a 56% stake in the company. The Foundation deal hits close to home for us here at Smart-Tek, we’ve been fortunate to be involved in Foundation’s growth since the beginning and it is amazing to witness what they’ve been able to achieve.

Happenings in the Tech Space

IT proved to be a busy year for Boston Tech companies as well. Notable IPO’s were Care.com, HubSpot, Wayfair, Cyberark and Imprivata. The largest of these IPO’s was Wayfair, who raised $319 Million for their IPO in October. HubSpot has been a local success story for the past few years. In 2014 we saw HubSpot hit the public market and reach an estimated value of over $1 billion.

The Tech Sector was also very busy in the acquisition world. One of these was an estimated $125 million acquisition of MIT start-up The Echo Nest which brought Spotify to the hub. Smarterer, a local company that provides skill assessments, was acquired by PluralSight for $75 million. I mention the Smarterer deal not just because their name is awesome, it was also another great win for CEO Dave Balter, who is someone to keep an eye on in the future. Another story that hits close to home for us is Lockheed’s acquisition of Industrial Defender. We’ve had the pleasure of witnessing Industrial Defender grow from a small services organization to a major player within cyber security. Industrial Defender’s technology will prove valuable as Lockheed shifts more of their business to the commercial sector. Lastly, local giant EMC was once again in buying mode as they acquired a handful of companies to bolster their capabilities in the cloud space, one of which was local start-up Twinstrata.

We are excited to see how all of this continues to unfold in the coming months and uncover what 2015 has in store!

If you have any questions about any of this or simply want to chat about your career, industry news, world news, local news, sports, politics (scratch politics…nothing good seems to happen there), please don’t hesitate to contact one of our seasoned recruiters.


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