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Roche announces acquisition of InterMune

Authored by James Sheppard

The global pharmaceutical company Roche has announced it has purchased the California based, biotech, InterMune, for $8.3bn. The deal will give Roche access to a potential blockbuster drug for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Roche will pay $74 a share for InterMune, which is 38% more than the August 22nd closing share price for the USA based biotech. The purchase see Roche get access to pirfenidone, which is indicated in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease that cause tissue deep in the lungs to become thick and scarred over time. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis affects around 128,000 people in the USA.

The purchase is Roche’s biggest purchase since its 2009 purchase of the remaining 44% of Genentech. Roche, the largest global maker of oncology drugs, has struggled to expand its reach outside of oncology. The deal will see Roche expand its pulmonary franchise globally. The deal is another example of the bolt on M&A strategy that Severin Schwan has recently employed.

Roche and Intermune have been working together since 2006 on drugs for hepatitis C. This close collaboration and their geographic proximity means that the integration should be fairly quick for the two companies.

With pirfenidone expected to add around $1bn in sales at its peak the deal has widely been viewed as a positive step for Roche. With Roche looking to add a number of smaller bolt-on acquisitions to its portfolio it is expected not to be Mr Schwan’s last M&A announcement.

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