After dementing the romours that Roche would buy all the outstanding shares of Chugai it does not yet own, the pharma giant has after all been involved in some mergers and acquisitions activity with a $8.3 billion offer in cash for InterMune.
The US based biotech, headquartered in Brisbane, CA, has currently one drug approved in the EU and Canada, Esbriet, for which it also has a breakthrough drug designation at the FDA. Esbriet is used to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that causes progressive scarring in lung tissue, and can be fatal within 5 years of diagnosis. Analysts estimate Esbriet could hit $1 billion or more, out of a global idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis market expected to grow to $2 billion.
According to Roche CEO Severin Schwan the InterMune deal will “complement Roche’s strengths in pulmonary therapy, which include Xolair, an asthma treatment, and Pulmozyme, for cystic fibrosishas Xolair, an asthma treatment, and Pulmozyme, for cystic fibrosis. Plus Roche is also developing an asthma drug, lebrikizumab. Rumours go around that besides Roche, also Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline were interested in acquiring InterMune, which for sure did not make the deal cheaper for Roche.