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Pharma news: Roche explores expansion options after Illumina fends its hostile bid

Posted on 17 October 2012

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The top pharma news hitting the headlines is, Roche's desire to still expand in gene sequencing after its failed attempt to buy Illumina Inc. (ILMN) this year.

In the view of this expansion Roche Holdings is open to consider potential deals, as further updated in the pharma news report.

Illumina fell the most in a year yesterday as investors doubted Roche would renew its interest in buying the world’s biggest maker of DNA sequencing equipment. Illumina declined 6 percent to $48.07 at the close in New York, the biggest drop since Oct. 7, 2011. The San Diego-based company’s shares have gained 58 percent this year.

“Sequencing is certainly one of the business areas we are looking to invest in,” Schwan said on a conference call with reporters today after Roche announced a 15 percent increase in third-quarter sales that beat analyst estimates. “We are looking for a variety of options to build this business both internally and externally.” He declined to comment on “market rumors” of a new Illumina bid.

Buying Illumina would help Roche, the world’s largest maker of cancer medicines, better tailor drugs to patients. Machines made by Illumina can provide a full transcript of a person’s DNA, information used to diagnose rare disease, identify the risk for a genetic condition, or match cancer treatments to patients’ tumors.

Hostile Bid

Illumina fought off a $6.7 billion hostile takeover bid from Basel, Switzerland-based Roche. Illumina Chief Executive Officer Jay Flatley called the $51-a-share offer “woefully inadequate,” in an interview last month.

The Times of London reported Oct. 1 that Roche might consider another bid at $60 a share, without citing sources for the information.

Speculation about a deal with Roche leaked in December, and Roche formally made its interest known a month later by publicly offering $44.50 a share, after it said Illumina was “unwilling to participate in substantive discussions.” After the Swiss drugmaker increased the offer in March, investors voted down its attempt to gain control of Illumina’s board at an April 18 shareholder meeting.

Flatley said in a Sept. 17 interview with Bloomberg that the public offer from Roche stopped Illumina’s board from discussing what price would be acceptable.

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