Big pharma M&A may keep booming, CEOs say

Exciting time for drug breakthroughs: Merck CEO

A dizzying flurry of biotech and pharmaceutical acquisitions may not slow soon.

Just in recent weeks, Mylan has shown interest in Perrigo. Teva announced plans to buy Auspex for $3.2 billion.

For Pfizer and Merck—two big names that have ridden the merger wave—buying up more business is a possibility.

"I think we'll look segment by segment and we'll do acquisitions where it will strengthen our business," Pfizer CEO Ian Read said on CNBC Thursday in a "Power Lunch" interview.

Generic copies of Merck & Co.'s cholesterol pill Zocor and Pfizer Inc.'s Zoloft antidepressant.
JB Reed | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Among other moves, the company in February announced a $17 billion acquisition of Hospira, which is a leader in injected drugs. Read noted that the company would look at not only "innovative" segments but also at products that build on current Pfizer offerings.

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In a separate CNBC interview Thursday, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier said the company was open to expanding some segments through acquisitions. The company bought both hepatitis C treatment maker Idenix and drugmaker Cubist in the last year.

Frazier made the distinction between finding "the next wave of science" and strengthening existing business.

Merck may make moves in "spaces where we're either leading or where we aspire to lead going forward," he added.

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Pfizer was trading barely positive while Merck was nearly 1 percent lower on Thursday.