Roche pharma chief douses hot rumors on Alexion buyout

Maybe Roche ($RHBBY) isn't as interested in Alexion Pharmaceuticals ($ALXN) as some recent news reports suggest.

Roche pharma chief Daniel O'Day told Reuters' Ben Hirschler that ultra-rare diseases--an Alexion specialty--just doesn't fit its business model.

"Our business is based on personalized healthcare and defining the patients most at risk and finding therapies," O'Day told Hirschler. "But I think ultra-rare diseases with very, very small patient populations, high prices and different regulatory channels is a complementary but different business than we are in at Roche today."

There have been a few persistent reports that the giant pharma company has been lining up some big money to buy Alexion, which has a market cap that has swollen to more than $22 billion on the success of its rare-disease strategy and Soliris. Bloomberg fed the fire with a report in late July that Alexion had responded to the rumors by bringing in Goldman Sachs to advise it on a possible deal with Roche. 

Quite a few analysts, though, never could quite figure that one out. Alexion would want a big premium for any deal, and that could make an acquisition outrageously expensive. Also, Roche has a rep for walking away from deals that it believes are overpriced.

O'Day wouldn't address the Alexion speculation directly, but he was clearly bullish about Roche's existing pipeline. Maybe O'Day was just looking for a polite way to back away from the story.

- here's the Reuters story

Suggested Articles

Preclinical-stage biotech Abpro Therapeutics wants to trial its two lead candidates for HER2-positive cancers and diabetic macular edema in 2019.

After a rough patch in 2017, the stars seem to be realigning for French CAR-T expert Cellectis, which just closed a $164 million U.S. public offering.

Investment firm Frazier Healthcare Partners has closed its 11th fund—worth $780 million—that will help established companies accelerate their growth.