The first massive pharma takeover of 2016 is already approaching

The first big pharma deal of 2016 could land in the first few days of the year.

Shire has had its eye on biopharmaceutical company Baxalta for months, first going after it in August. Now, Bloomberg reports, a cash and stock deal valuing Baxalta at about $32 billion is near.

Baxalta, which is based in Deerfield, Illinois, was spun off from healthcare company Baxter in July 2015. Baxalta’s focus is primarily on developing biotechnology treatments for blood disorders, cancer, and immune deficiency disorders.

It didn’t take long after Baxalta went public for Shire to reach out and try to acquire the company. Shire originally made an unsolicited offer of $30 billion in stock. That offer was rejected by Baxalta.

The two sides returned to talks last month, and now Bloomberg reports that the deal could go through as soon as this week, citing people familiar with the matter.

The drug industry has been gripped by a takeover wave as large pharma companies tap low-cost debt to fund purchases of smaller rivals. Only two deals in the last twelve months – Pfizer’s $183 billion purchase of Allergan and Allergan’s $40 billion sale of its generic-drugs business, are larger than the reported value of the Baxalta deal.

Shire is a Dublin-based pharmaceutical company makes drugs to treat everything from ADHD to dry eye disease, and is focused on developing drugs for rare diseases. Bloomberg reports the company expects to launch 30 new drugs over the next five years.

If Baxalta accepts the deal, the acquisition would give the company a lower tax rate because it too would move its headquarters to Ireland, a move that has lately drawn a fair amount of criticism.

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