PHARMACY

Roche makes $43.7 billion offer for Genentech

BY Alaric DeArment

BASEL, Switzerland Swiss drug maker Roche has offered to acquire Genentech for $43.7 billion, Roche announced Monday.

The company wants to buy the outstanding shares that remain of South San Francisco, Calif.-based Genentech at $89 per share in cash. Roche acquired a stake of about 56 percent of Genentech in 1990. Since then, Genentech has brought to the market a slew of cutting-edge medicines that have racked up sales of more than $1 billion per year, including Avastin, Rituxan and Herceptin for various forms of cancer. In fact, Avastin and Rituxan both topped $2 billion in sales worldwide last year. As part of the two companies’ arrangement, Genentech sells the drugs inside the U.S. and Roche outside the U.S.

Roche has promised that Genentech’s South San Francisco research center will stay in operation, while its “unique research culture” will be maintained. 

While neither company will announce whether the deal is definite or not, it’s a surprising move for Roche, who usually owns buys shares in companies and never fully buys a company outright. But, new chief executive officer Severin Schwan has already shown that Roche is heading in a new direction under his leadership.

“We are looking forward to working more closely with our colleagues from Genentech,” Schwan said. “We have great respect for their achievements and we will take the necessary steps to nurture Genentech’s innovation and unique science-driven culture.”

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PTC, Genzyme ink $100 million development deal

BY Drew Buono

PLAINFIELD, N.J. PTC Therapeutics and Genzyme have agreed on a partnership deal that will help PTC develop its lead drug, PTC 124 for treatments like rare forms of cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, according to published reports.

Genzyme will pay PTC $100 million upfront and, in exchange, the company will get exclusive rights for the drug, which is currently in phase 2 clinical trials, outside the United Stated and Canada.

Also, under the terms of the deal, PTC will be responsible for finishing up four studies involving the drug. Afterward, the two companies will share research and development costs. PTC will also be eligible for additional fees up to $337 million from Genzyme based on regulatory progress and level of sales achieved by the PTC-124.

This announcement comes just one day after PTC received an award for $25 million for the same drug from the drug discovery branch of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

PTC-124 is designed for patients who have a genetic disorder caused by a nonsense mutation, which interrupt sequences in DNA coding.

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Teva to acquire Barr in $7 billion deal

BY Drew Buono

JERUSALEM Teva Pharmaceuticals today announced that it would buy rival generic manufacturer Barr Pharmaceuticals in a deal worth more than $7 billion, according to the Associated Press. The figure includes $1.5 billion of Barr’s debt.

The deal is expected to close at the end of this year and with that, Teva said it should bring $300 million in annual cost savings within three years and add to its profits within a year of the deal closing.

Teva is the number one generic company in the world, with sales of $9.4 billion while Barr was ranked number four with $2.5 billion in revenue.

Besides many popular generic contraceptives, Barr sells its brand-name Seasonique, which limits menstrual periods to four times per year. And it began selling a generic version of Bayer AG’s birth-control pill Yasmin in the U.S. in July. Barr also has the rights to sell a generic version of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Adderall XR starting April 1, 2009.

Together, the two companies have more than 500 products on the market, as well as more than 200 applications pending in the U.S. to sell generic versions of brand-name drugs with combined sales exceeding $120 billion a year. The combined company will have about 37,000 employees and operations in more than 60 countries.

The boards of both companies have approved the deal, but approval is still needed from Barr stockholders and various regulators in North America and Europe.

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