Post-merger, Roche emulates Genentech's attitude

When Roche finally closed its $47 billion buyout of Genentech, many industry watchers worried the Swiss company would stifle Genentech's famously laid-back culture. But if early reports are correct, it looks like Roche is the one that's had an attitude adjustment.

Roche installed key Genentech leaders at top spots in the company. When it came time to make cuts, Roche's U.S. operations saw the most layoffs. Genentech's ranks have actually grown since the the buyout, according to a Roche spokeswoman, up to 13,000 (including Roche transfers) from 11,120 pre-merger. Roche rejiggered to emulate Genentech's R&D structure when it saw the California company's early-stage research facilities were more successful than its own. So far Genentech's South San Francisco employees have noticed no changes, according to BusinessWeek

The changes may be good for Roche's business, but it still has to focus on its long-term goals, health company consultant and former Roche employee Nick Draeger tells BusinessWeek. "Roche is the best company in the pharma business at the moment," notes Draeger. "But they have to be very careful that there is not undue and excessive influence on Roche by Genentech." 

- check out the BusinessWeek report