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Roche shifts funding priorities

Pharmaceutical company Roche seems to be changing up its research focus. The company is pulling the plug on its HIV research program, and today offered more than $40 billion to buy up the 44% of biotech Genentech that it does not already own. A Roche spokesperson told linkurl:Chemical & Engineering News;http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/86/i29/8629notw7.html that there are no drugs in the company's HIV drug pipeline that warrant further development. They had been developing antiretrovirals, all of w

By | July 21, 2008

Pharmaceutical company Roche seems to be changing up its research focus. The company is pulling the plug on its HIV research program, and today offered more than $40 billion to buy up the 44% of biotech Genentech that it does not already own. A Roche spokesperson told linkurl:Chemical & Engineering News;http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/86/i29/8629notw7.html that there are no drugs in the company's HIV drug pipeline that warrant further development. They had been developing antiretrovirals, all of which were still at the preclinical stage. The HIV researchers at Roche will be reassigned to other therapeutic areas, the spokesperson said. She added that Roche will continue to support the HIV therapies it already makes, including linkurl:Fuzeon,;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/03/01/s60/1/ a cell fusion inhibitor, which the FDA approved in 2003. Meanwhile, Roche linkurl:announced today;http://www.roche.com/med-cor-2008-07-21b its offer of $89 per share to buy Genentech's remaining public shares. Roche currently owns 55.9% of all the biotech's shares. Andreas Theisen, a pharmaceutical analyst at WestLB Equity Markets in Germany, told linkurl:The New York Times;http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/22/business/worldbusiness/22roche.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&referer=sphere_related_content&referer=sphere_related_content&oref=slogin the offer was "quite a departure" from Roche's traditional strategy. At a press conference today in Switzerland, Roche chairman Franz Humer said Genentech will keep operating as an independent research arm and keep "the operational freedom to maintain a high level of creativity and independent decision making."
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