Roche launches hostile bid for Genentech shares

    Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche made a second attempt on 30 January to capture the 44% of US biotechnology firm Genentech that it does not already own.

    The board of the highly successful Genentech, based in San Francisco, California, had rejected Roche's offer of US$89 a share in summer 2008 as too low (see _Nature_ 454, 381; 2008). But after the turmoil of the global financial markets saw Genentech's share value fall from a high of $99 in August last year to $84 on 29 January, Roche cut its offer to $86.50 a share and bypassed directors, going straight to shareholders.

    Some analysts say that the Basel-based firm is trying to force a deal ahead of clinical-trial results expected in April that could substantially expand the use of Genentech's blockbuster anticancer drug Avastin and drive up Genentech's value. "If the trial works, Genentech is out of Roche's reach," argues Geoffrey Porges, a biotechnology analyst with Sanford Bernstein, an investment-research firm in New York.

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    Roche launches hostile bid for Genentech shares. Nature 457, 648 (2009).

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