PHARMACY

Roche CEO says it will not increase bid for Ventana

BY Allison Cerra

TUSCON, Ariz. Roche Holding’s acquisition of a major medical diagnostic company has come to a standstill until negotiations arise, its chief executive officer announced Friday.

Roche, which has been trying to acquire Ventana Medical Systems for the past three months, refuses to raise its $3 billion hostile bid, and said it will wait until the company is open for negotiation.

“I’m sure they will come around and see the attractiveness of our offer,” said Franz Humer, chief executive officer and chairman of Roche.

Ventana, which boasts itself as being the global leader in tissue-based cancer diagnostics, claims Roche’s $75 per share offer is too low.

The acquisition, it seems, has been fought against since the beginning. Since Roche offered Ventana the bid in late June, Ventana released a statement to its shareholders stating that “not only is the offer significantly below our current market price, it does not even come close to reflecting the intrinsic value of the company, [and] its strong growth prospects in an accelerating market.”

Additionally, the company attempted to block the buyout with an anti-takeover law, but a federal judge imposed a preliminary injunction, which led Roche closer to attaining Ventana. Shares of Ventana have jumped since the bid announcement by approximately $30. On Friday, they closed at $83.02.

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PHARMACY

Teva announces shipment of generic Famvir

BY Allison Cerra

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has begun the shipment of its generic version of Novartis’ Famvir herpes treatment, the company said Friday.

As the first drug developer to file for a generic version of the drug, famciclovir, Teva has been awarded a 180-day period of marketing exclusivity.

The announcement comes two days following the U.S. District Court in New Jersey’s decision to deny Novartis’ motion for a preliminary injunction, which would have prevented Teva from marketing its version of Famvir.

During afternoon trading, shares of the Israeli company fell 11 cents to $43.39, while Novartis’ American Depositary Shares rose 8 cents to $53.41.

In 2006, Famvir net sales totaled at $166 million in the United States.

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Actavis’ generic Norvasc gets approval from FDA

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK The Food and Drug Administration approved Actavis Group’s generic version of a well-known high blood pressure medication, the company announced Friday.

The company said they were given the go-ahead to develop amlodipine besylate tablets, the generic form of Pfizer’s Norvasc. The medication will be available in 2.5, 5 and 10 mg doses.

Actavis, one of the leading generic pharmaceutical companies in the world, operates in close to 40 countries, and continues to expand its business with various product developments. The company became privately owned last month.

In the interim, shares of Pfizer fell 7 cents to $24.55 in morning trading.

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