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Roche ends pursuit of gene sequencing company Illumina

Says chairman Franz Humer following failed $6.8bn bid

Roche Basel

Roche chairman Franz Humer told a German newspaper over the weekend that it has decided not to pursue a takeover of US gene sequencing company Illumina, despite rumours to the contrary.

Humer told the SonntagsZeitung that  Illumina deal was "nice to have" rather than a "must have" for Roche's diagnostics division and that it would definitely not be coming back to the bidding table having had an earlier $6.8bn offer rebuffed last year.

Roche called off the $51-per-share hostile takeover bid last April after shareholders in the gene sequencing specialist re-elected directors onto the board who were opposed to the deal.

Humer said Illumina was "not willing to abandon the totally unrealistic price they were asking for" and reiterated that there are other companies around with rival technology platforms that may be of interest for Roche.

The company said last year that lower-cost sequencing technology from firms such as Life Technologies and Oxford Nanopore Technologies could eventually knock Illumina off the top of the gene sequencing market.

Since then Illumina added to its technology portfolio with the acquisition of cytogenetics and in vitro fertilisation/pre-implantation genetic testing specialist BlueGnome, and said in its third-quarter results statement that revenues has risen more than 20 per cent "due to the strength of our sequencing business", although growth in sequencing is said to be slowing.

Illumina has said it intends to expand into new clinical diagnostic areas, such as personalised medicine and cancer diagnostics, that could double the potential market targeted by its products to around $8bn worldwide.

Humer also said in the interview that Roche chief executive Severin Schwan will not succeed him as company chairman, as the company will not return to a situation where the same individual holds both roles.

7th January 2013

From: Research

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