Roche bids for Genentech on Monday, acquires Mirus on Tuesday and Arius on Wednesday

Basle-based pharmaceutical giant Roche Holdings has announced plans to acquire two biotechnology companies, Canada's Arius Research Inc and privately held US-based Mirus Bio Corporation, the latest in a series of acquisitions of North American biotechnology companies. Earlier this week on Monday, 21 July, it had it announced a $89-per share offer to acquire the world's second larget bitechnology firm US-based Genentech Inc, in a deal valued at $43.7 billion (See: Roche makes a $43.7-billion bid for Genentech) 

It announced on Wednesday, July 23, that it is acquiring Arius Research Inc. of Canada for C$191 million ($190.4 million) or C$2.44 a share for Arius, a 14.5 per cent premium over its closing price of C$2.13 on Tuesday, 22 July, and a 44 per cent premium to the 20-day volume-weighted average closing price ending 15 May 2008, the last trading day prior to Arius's announcement that third parties had shown interest in the company and its technologies.

Roche will also acquire all of the issued and outstanding warrants of Arius. Roche will pay C$1.44 for each Class F Warrant and C$1.78 for each Class G Warrants. Shareholders and warrant holders representing 54.3 per cent of the outstanding shares and 72.3 per cent of outstanding warrants have already agreed to support the transaction.

The acquisition would allow Roche to gain access to Arius's new screening platform for antibody therapeutics, FunctionFIRST, which rapidly identifies and selects antibodies based on their ability to affect disease before progressing into clinical development.

Roche said the FunctionFIRST platform will allow Roche to further strengthen its developmental portfolio, initially within the areas of oncology and inflammatory diseases where this new technique offers potentially broad therapeutic applications.

Arius is involved in discovering and developing the next wave of antibody therapeutics to treat cancer and other diseases. At the core of the company is its unique, proprietary FunctionFIRST technology platform that generates and selects therapeutic antibodies based on their activity.