What follows is a summary of the group's discussion, covering a wide range of strategic questions: Does 2010 mark the end of the financing drought and a return to robust deal making? Will the caution and sobriety induced by the Great Recession lead to stronger and more lasting collaborations? Is licensing an adequate substitute for Big Pharma's newfound skepticism about the contributions from in-house R&D? How will the 2009 bumper crop of megamergers affect the number and price tags for deals in key therapeutic areas like oncology, primary care, and specialty? And what are the new markers for success in biotech's effort to secure fresh capital?
Our panel did find common cause around a single truth: The search for real value—value that can be differentiated against the competition—is irresistible, in good times and bad. And although the circumstances of each deal are unique, the driver that will bring people back to the table in 2010 is still a simple one: Big Pharma is looking to snag marketable new products at minimal risk, while small biotech has to raise money. Let the games begin.—William Looney, Editor-in-Chief