Roche to buy US biotech firm InterMune for $8.3B

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BERLIN (AP) — Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche said Sunday it has reached an $8.3 billion deal to buy InterMune Inc., a California-based developer of treatments for lung diseases.

The companies have reached an agreement under which Roche will acquire InterMune in an all-cash transaction, paying $74.00 per InterMune share, Roche said. That is a premium of 38 percent over InterMune's closing price on Friday.

The acquisition of the biotechnology company, based in Brisbane, California, "will allow Roche to broaden and strengthen its respiratory portfolio globally," the Swiss company said. It added that the transaction is expected to bolster earnings from 2016.

Roche said it plans "a smooth transition of InterMune employees and operations into the Roche organization." The American company hopes to launch its drug pirfenidone in the U.S. later this year.

The drug is designed to treat a terminal lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, which causes inflammation and scarring of the lung that makes it hard for patients to breathe. InterMune began selling it in Europe under the name Esbriet in 2011 and it is also available in Canada and some other countries.