Roche Makes Genentech Takeover Bid

Swiss pharma bids $43.7B for remaining shares of biotech firm
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Jul 21, 2008 6:55 AM CDT
Franz B. Humer, chairman of the board and CEO of Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Holding.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Georgios Kefalas)
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(Newser) – Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche today offered $43.7 billion for the outstanding shares of Genentech, the San Francisco-based biotech firm in which Roche already owns a 55.9% stake, the Wall Street Journal reports. The $89-a-share offer is the latest in a series of big pharma companies, whose new drug development has been lagging, stepping up investment in the more productive biotech sector.

But the move potentially puts at risk the independent research that the biotech firm—and Roche—has thrived on. Under the loose reins of Roche’s arms-length management, Genentech has produced an array of cancer drugs, including Avastin, Rituxan, and Herceptin, that generate more than $1 billion a year in sales; in all, Genentech-developed drugs contributed nearly a third of Roche's 2007 sales last year.