After Roche Merger, Biotech Tail Wags Big Pharma Dog

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"Genentech's jeans-wearing scientists in San Francisco have proven they are the ones driving the drug pipeline of the 116-year-old Basel-based pharma giant."

Reuters, Caroline Copley

When Roche paid $46.8 billion in 2009 to gain full ownership of Genentech, fears were rife that the arrival of the Swiss men in suits would stifle the free-wheeling innovative culture at the California-based biotech.

Three years on, however, the jeans-wearing scientists in San Francisco have proven they are the ones driving the drug pipeline of the 116-year-old Basel-based pharma giant, casting a shadow over Roche's own research operations.

Roche's four top-selling medicines in 2011—Rituxan, Avastin, Herceptin and Lucentis—were all cooked up in Genentech's labs and accounted for 55% of total pharma sales last year.

And five of the seven most promising drugs in Roche's pipeline, identified by brokerage Bernstein, stem from Genentech, including "armed antibody" experimental anticancer drug TDM-1, which received top-billing at this year's meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. . .View Full Article

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