Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the pharmaceutical industry during the first quarter of 2009 exceeded the total dollar value of all pharma deals in 2008, according to the Associated Press (AP). AP says a report from The Mergermarket Group of New York and London puts the total for deals during the January 1 to March 31 period at $166 billion, more than 10 times the value of the same quarter in 2008 and well over the $114 billion total for the entire year. Three of the first-quarter deals include the Roche Group's purchase for $47 billion of the 44 percent of Genentech that it did not already own; Pfizer's $64 billion purchase of Wyeth; and Merck's acquisition of Schering-Plough for $43 billion. The report suggests that there will be several additional "mid-market" deals -- transactions valued at less than $5 billion -- over the next few quarters and some that involve smaller, targeted deals that fit with individual companies' growth strategies. Another prediction in the report is that M&A activity will increase among companies involved in stem cell research, following President Barack Obama's executive order in March to allow the use of federal funding for that research.