Published online 23 July 2008 | Nature 454, 381 (2008) | doi:10.1038/454381a

News in Brief

Roche bids for remaining Genentech stake

The Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche has offered nearly US$44 billion to acquire the 44% of biotechnology jewel Genentech that it doesn't already own.

The offer immediately raised questions about how independent the highly successful, South San Francisco-based biotechnology firm would remain. Severin Schwan, the chief executive of Roche, says that his company “will take the necessary steps to nurture Genentech's innovative and unique science-driven culture”.

Genentech has a market value of some $86 billion and has generated biotech blockbusters such as Avastin (bevacizumab) for colon cancer and Herceptin (trastuzumab) for breast cancer. Roche acquired its majority stake in Genentech in 1990. The Swiss firm expects to complete the transaction “as soon as possible”, subject to approval from the holders of the majority of Genentech shares not already owned by Roche. 

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