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Roche Bid Could Alter Pharma's DNA

The thought of Genentech going away as a separate publicly traded company is very strange to ponder. In many ways, Genentech is the biotech sector, if you get my meaning. Not having that "DNA" ticker symbol around will be very strange -- and sad.

A New M&A Trend?

Will the Roche-Genentech deal spur further merger activity in the biotech sector?

Deals like this can't hurt, and I'd expect some strength in the overall biotech sector as a result, but I'd also be cautious about predicting a broader biotech buyout trend based on Roche-Genentech.

As Roche said repeatedly today, there is an existing relationship between the two companies. Roche already benefits mightily from its 56% stake in Genentech, so now it will benefit even more. There existed a certain inevitability to Roche buying the rest of Genentech.

Will this induce other Big Pharma companies to gobble up the likes of a Biogen Idec (BIIB - Get Report), Gilead Sciences (GILD - Get Report) or Celgene (CELG - Get Report), or go after smaller, more speculative biotech firms?

Perhaps, but it's hard to make a bet on something like that. Such talk has been percolating for years and with a few exceptions, we haven't seen many mega-deals take place.

The way I look at it, Genentech on its own was one of the best, if not the best, biotech investment in the sector. Those investors that agreed and owned the stock are now going to profit. So, buy good biotech companies with strong fundamentals and perhaps you, too, will wake up Monday morning to some happy news.

Lastly, if Roche successfully buys the rest of Genentech, the New York Stock Exchange should retire the DNA ticker symbol permanently. Hang a flag from the rafters of the trading floor to remember the greatest and most successful biotech firm that ever was.
Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.
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