Roche has abandoned its attempt to take over US biotech company Illumina after a year of increasingly bitter argument.
The pharmaceuticals and diagnostics giant has seen an increased cash offer and an attempt to take over the gene sequencing company’s board of directors fail.
Roche’s Chairman, Franz Humer (pictured), has indicated that Roche is interested in discussions with other biotech companies that have similar platforms.
Roche’s pursuit of Illumina has been likened by industry observers to Gollum’s doomed quest for his “precious” ring.
It began at the start of 2012, with Roche offering $5.7bn to acquire the US company – an offer described by Illumina as “grossly inadequate”.
Roche extended its deadline by two months and then increased the offer to $6.8bn, citing a positive “market reaction”.
The pharma giant urged Illumina’s shareholders to support the deal by electing Roche representatives to the biotech company’s board of directors.
“As a standalone company, Illumina’s future is far from certain,” commented Roche’s CEO, Severin Schwan, at that time.
However, the Illumina board’s annual meeting did not elect a majority of Roche supporters, and Illumina CEO Jay Flatley called the bid “opportunistic”.
Despite the predictions of industry experts that a deal would be struck, Humer has announced that Roche is no longer pursuing the biotech firm.
The Illumina takeover was a “nice to have”, not a “must have”, he claimed, and Roche was considering other specialists – such as Life Technologies and Oxford Nanopore Technologies – to provide its diagnostics division with a less costly gene sequencing platform.
Meanwhile, Illumina reports 20% revenue growth in the last quarter. It plans to expand into the increasingly profitable field of cancer diagnostics and targeted drugs.