Roche to acquire InterMune for US$8.3bn

Will expand its respiratory product portfolio with the addition of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis treatment pirfenidone

Roche has agreed to buy US biotechnology company InterMune for US$8.3bn.

The Swiss drugmaker said it would pay $74 a share for the company, which represents a premium of 38% over the closing price on 22 August.

The acquisition has been approved by the boards of both companies.

InterMune, located in Brisbane, CA, is focused on the development and commercialisation of drugs for pulmonology and fibrotic diseases, and the deal will allow Roche to broaden and strengthen its respiratory portfolio globally.

The company's leading drug, pirfenidone, is approved for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in the EU and Canada and is under regulatory review in the US. IPF is a progressive, irreversible and ultimately fatal disease caused by loss of lung function due to fibrosis, or scarring, in the lungs.

Roche markets Pulmozyme and Xolair in the US and has other novel therapeutic medicines targeting respiratory diseases in clinical development.

'We are very pleased that we reached this agreement with InterMune,' said Severin Schwan, CEO of Roche. 'Our offer provides significant value to InterMune's shareholders and this acquisition will complement Roche's strengths in pulmonary therapy.'

Roche expects pirfenidone to be launched in the US later this year.

This acquisition will complement Roche's strengths in pulmonary therapy

InterMune's Chairman, CEO and President, Dan Welch, said: 'This merger recognises the significant value created by our team's commitment, hard work and execution for more than a decade to develop and commercialise treatment options for IPF patients and their families. Roche shares our passion and commitment to the IPF community and to ensuring that pirfenidone is available as quickly as possible to patients in the US, pending FDA approval.

'Roche's global resources and scale will not only facilitate and accelerate our ability to deliver pirfenidone to more patients around the world, but also to realise our joint vision to bring additional innovative therapies to patients with respiratory diseases.'

Pirfenidone has been marketed by InterMune in the EU and Canada as Esbriet since regulatory approval in 2011 and 2012 respectively. After a previous regulatory review in the US in 2010, the FDA recommended an additional Phase III clinical trial to support the efficacy of pirfenidone. The results of this study, the ASCEND trial, were part of the new drug application (NDA) resubmission that InterMune made in May this year. On 17 July, the drug received breakthrough therapy designation from the FDA. The target action date for the pirfenidone NDA is 23 November.