Roche, Novartis execs discount chance of R&D collaborations

Bernstein's Tim Anderson has been probing some recent hints about a possible tie-up of some sort between Roche ($RHHBY) and Novartis ($NVS), but he's come away from some recent meetings with top executives with the distinct sense that there's little common ground for a potential deal. FiercePharma Editor Tracy Staton covers the news that while Novartis may be considering the sale of some big units, it doesn't look likely that Roche would have any interest in buying them. Interestingly, Anderson's note also discounts the notion that the two companies can add collaborations on ophthalmology and respiratory, where they already share Lucentis and Xolair. "Roche currently has late-stage pipeline assets in both of these areas: lampalizumab (anti factor D) for 'dry AMD' and lebrikuzumab for asthma," writes Anderson, who's bullish on both companies. "However, at our meeting, Roche's CFO said in no uncertain terms that Roche will be going it alone with these two products and will not seek a partner." The online chatter in Bloomberg and Reuters about potential Roche deals has been flying fast and furious recently, but there's been a streak of unfounded rumors that appear to be more smoke than fire. Story from FiercePharma