On a spree, Roche lands $175M deal for Piramed

Roche snapped up the UK's Piramed today in a $175 million deal that includes a $15 million milestone payment--the latest in a series of new acquisitions. Roche gets Piramed's programs involving PI3-K inhibitors for cancer and immune inflammatory diseases like arthritis. The milestone payment is for starting the mid-stage trial for cancer. Piramed's work on treating immune inflammatory diseases is in the preclinical phase.   

Roche has been busily snapping up biotechs to beef up its pipeline work. And this deal marks the first buyout by new Roche CEO Severin Schwan (photo), who engineered a series of deals as head of the company's diagnostics unit. The news of the buyout came as Roche announced that Rituxan had failed in a trial for multiple sclerosis.

"The acquisition of Piramed is a positive step and allows Roche to access a PI3-K inhibitor program, which has become an important emerging target for the treatment of cancers and auto-immune diseases," said Vontobel analyst Karl Heinz Koch.

- see the press release
- read the story from Dow Jones

ALSO: Roche spelled out the clinical failure of Rituxan for MS, but says that the company still believes in a "B cell therapy" for MS. Article

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