PHARMACY

Roche increases its bid for Genentech

BY Alaric DeArment

BASEL, Switzerland Swiss drug maker Roche has increased the amount it’s willing to pay for its long-standing bid to acquire biotech company Genentech.

Roche announced Saturday that it would pay $93 a share for the South San Francisco, Calif.-based company. It already owns almost 56% of Genentech.

“Based on our conversations with Genentech shareholders, we believe that there is a strong sentiment to bring this process to a conclusion,” Roche Group chairman Franz Humer said in a statement. “As a result, we are increasing our price to $93 per share to maximize shareholder participation and will proceed quickly to complete all necessary financing.”

Roche originally offered to buy the company in July and mounted a hostile takeover bid in January.

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Bristol-Myers Squibb announces executive changes

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb announced a wave of executive appointments Wednesday as part of what it called a transformation to a “next-generation” biopharmaceutical leader.

The company appointed Lamberto Andreotti as president and COO and elected him to the board of directors, also placing him on the newly formed executive committee with chairman and CEO James Cornelius. Elliott Sigal became EVP, chief science officer and president research and development and will oversee Bristol’s research, discovery and development functions. Jean-Marc Huet was promoted to EVP and CFO and will also oversee the areas of strategy and productivity.

“This group will chart the future for Bristol-Myers Squibb,” Cornelius said in a statement. “Our transformation over the past 15 months has been swift and seamless, and we will continue to move forward as a company purely focused on helping patients prevail against serious disease.”

Bristol also named Anthony Hooper as president for the Americas, Beatrice Cazala as president for global commercialization and Europe, John Celentano as president for emerging markets and the Asia-Pacific region, Giovanni Caforio as SVP global and United States oncology and Carlo De Notaristefani as president for technical operations and global support functions.

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Vertex Pharmaceuticals to acquire ViroChem Pharma

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. A company developing a drug for treating hepatitis C will add two more drugs for the disease to its portfolio by acquiring a company based in Quebec.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals announced Tuesday that it would acquire ViroChem Pharma, a privately held company, for $100 million in cash and 9.9 million shares of Vertex common stock.

Vertex is developing telaprevir, a protease inhibitor for fighting the hepatitis C virus in phase 3 development, while ViroChem is developing two polymerase inhibitors.

“This acquisition significantly strengthens our pipeline in hepatitis C by bringing together Vertex’s telaprevir, our HCV protease inhibitor in registration studies, with the HCV non-nucleoside polymerase inhibitors being developed by ViroChem,” Vertex CEO Joshua Boger said in a statement. “Through this acquisition, we’re well-positioned as a leader in the development of HCV therapies.”

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