Buyout Buzz Surrounds Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Roche, Can Roche Afford it?

Published: Jul 16, 2013

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Buying Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc would help Roche make a splash in the newly lucrative area of rare or so-called orphan diseases, but it could command a price that the Swiss drugmaker is ultimately not willing to pay. Two people familiar with the matter have told Reuters that the Basel-based firm is seeking financing for a potential bid for Alexion, which specialises in the treatment of rare diseases. The sky-high prices and lower development and marketing costs of treatments for orphan diseases are increasingly drawing the attention of big pharmaceutical companies as their older drugs lose patent protection. A bid for Alexion would mark an attempt by Roche to diversify beyond its core cancer competencies through acquisitions, following a string of failures from its own research operations for drugs to treat cardio metabolic diseases.

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