Roche to Acquire US Biotech Company InterMune

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Roche to Acquire US Biotech Company InterMune

Roche Holding AG has said it will acquire US biotech firm InterMune Inc. for $8.3 billion in cash, making it possible for the world’s number one maker of cancer treatment grow into the treatment of rare and incurable health complications.

Roche has had mixed results in its efforts to create non-cancer drugs from its own labs, with challenges in recent years for trial therapies against heart disease, diabetes and schizophrenia, according to Reuters.

The Swiss pharmaceutical already sells Pulmozyme for treatment of cystic fibrosis and Xolair for acute asthma in the US and has other respiratory therapies on trial, including lebrikizumab for severe asthma treatment.

The InterMune agreement brings the firm a promising new drug, pirfenidone, which treats a chronic and eventually fatal scarring complication of the lungs. Pirfenidone is approved in Europe and Canada for treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and US regulators are reviewing it.

Roche announced on Sunday it intended to buy $74.00 per share via a tender offer for InterMune, a rate that’s a premium of 38% to the closing rate on Aug 22 and 63% premium over Aug 12 when acquisition rumors around the stock began to spread.

The purchase, which has been approved by the boards of both firms, is the biggest by Roche since 2009, when it acquired the remaining shares it did not already own in the US firm Genentech for about $47 billion.

“This will allow Roche to grow and strengthen its pulmonary franchise globally. It’s a perfect fit from a portfolio point of view. We plan a smooth transition ensuring readiness for an expected launch of pirfenidone in the U.S. in 2014,” Roche Chief Executive Officer Severin Schwan is quoted by Bloomberg as saying.

Industry analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters Pharm estimate that pirfenidone, which is administered as a pill, will register sales of up to $1.04 billion in 2019.

To contact the reporter of the story: Yashu Gola at yashu@forexminute.com

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