Biotech targets: Cramer identifies quality candidates

With some traditional drug companies starved for growth, Cramer thinks smaller biotechs may be in play. But there are a lot of smaller biotechs; which are worthy of investment?

Largely, Cramer formed this thesis after Roche described its $8.3 billion purchase of InterMune as a bolt-on acquisition. The term bolt-on is typically used by a company as a sign that the acquisition isn't viewed as terribly disruptive to the organization or its financial position.

Given Merck bid $3.8 billion for Idenix in June, Cramer thinks the Roche acquisition serves as confirmation that big pharma is looking to buy growth.

"With that in mind, I want to find the companies that could be the next InterMune or the next Idenix; biotechs with attractive late-stage drug candidates and healthy pipelines that could easily be taken over," Cramer said.

Here's what's on his radar.

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Acadia Pharma

"Acadia is a $2.7 billion company that's developing a drug called Pimavanserin for Parkinson's disease related psychosis and Alzheimer's psychosis," Cramer explained. The "Mad Money" host thinks the drug could become a blockbuster, and in turn, it could make Acadia an interesting acquisition for a bigger company.

"Alzheimer's related psychosis could be worth $3 to $4 billion in peak sales here in the US. That's right, Acadia's a $2.7 billion company sitting on a drug that might ultimately do $5 billion in annual sales, and that's before we even consider any expansions into additional psychiatric indications like schizophrenia."

Given the potential, "I think it's worth buying. As we get more positive data, Acadia could easily become a takeover target for many growth starved big pharma outfits."

Isis Pharma

Cramer sees Isis Pharma as a potential takeover target, in part, because it's developing so-called antisense technology, or drugs that work by altering RNA. "This is game-changing technology," Cramer said.

The Mad Money host believes recent developments confirm that the technology shows great promise.

"Isis already has one drug on the market already, Kynamro for a very specific genetic disease that causes high cholesterol. Kynamro has a pretty limited market opportunity, but the fact that it received FDA approval validates Isis Pharma's entire platform," Cramer said.

"Since Isis has 31 drugs in development, I think it would be a steal for any big pharma operator looking to boost its own growth rate, especially with the stock now more than 20 points off its highs."

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Achillion Pharma

Looking at Achillion Pharma, Cramer said the stock has jumped from $2 in early June to $12, as a bet a larger outfit will want to buy the company for its Hepatitis C treatment.

Although Cramer can see the company as a takeover target, in this case, he thinks it's too expensive for speculation.

"Given the enormous move in this stock, and the fact that we still don't have any efficacy data on their drug, I can't endorse it up here. Achillion is exactly the kind of biotech where takeover speculation would be extremely foolish, because the stock's already more than quintupled in anticipation of a deal. Just say you missed it and move on."

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