Roche confirms plans to acquire remaining 44 per cent in Genentech

Mumbai: Swiss drug major Roche proposes to buy the remaining 44 per cent stake in biotech giant Genenth as the proportion of Genentech products that make up Roche's revenue rose to 40 per cent.

Acquisition of Genentech would give Roche control of big-selling cancer drugs Avastin and Herceptin, as well as an attractive portfolio of new drugs.

Roche, which currently owns 56 per cent of Genentech, had made an unsuccessful bid for the remaining stake in its US biotech partner in July. Genentech rebuffed the $43.7 billion ($89 a share) offer saying it was too low. (Genentech shares, however, closed at $84.26 on Monday.)

''I would like to reaffirm that we remain committed to the deal and we aim for a negotiated settlement,'' Roche chief executive Severin Schwan said.

He refused to provide details of financing and other details, saying negotiations were continuing.

Riche, the world's largest maker of cancer drugs, reported a two per cent fall in nine-month group sales at 33.3 billion Swiss francs ($29.26 billion), including sales of antiviral drug Tamiflu. Sales, however rose 6 per cent in local currencies and 13 per cent in US dollars.

The company, however, said it anticipated  high single-digit increase in group sales for the full-year and earnings per share should remain in line with 2007 results.