Huang says the aging of the baby boomers will heat up interest in Alzheimer's drugs. (Image: Thinkstock)

(Bloomberg) — Treatments for neurodegenerative diseases could emerge as the next hot spot in health care mergers and acquisitions, Morgan Stanley’s head of M&A for the Americas said.

“Several years out, demographics would point me toward things like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s,” Susan Huang said on Bloomberg Television’s “Deal Report” segment Monday.

Related: Biogen, Eisai’s Alzheimer’s drug E2609 to enter late-stage trial

Oncology deals are likely to dominate transactions in the short term, with recent activity just the “tip of the iceberg,” according to Huang, who advised cancer drugmaker Stemcentrx on its $5.8 billion sale to AbbVie, completed in June. Over time, M&A will be spurred by growing demand among an aging baby boomer generation for drugs that combat neurodegenerative diseases.

Such deals will carry more risks than those involving more established treatments, she said.

“Compared to some of the other diseases that people are trying to treat, we still don’t know what the causes are,” said Huang. “That means it’s going to be longer and more expensive to research some of that.”

Companies that specialize in drugs to treat rare diseases also make attractive targets, Huang said.

“When you buy a company in that space, you have less competition in terms of R&D, but you also have more pricing flexibility and you can show real clinical impact,” she said.

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