UPDATE 4-Roche to buy U.S. biotech firm InterMune for $8.3 bln

Mon Aug 25, 2014 4:27am EDT
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* Deal boosts Roche's presence in respiratory medicine

* $74 per share cash offer represents 38 pct premium

* Roche sees transaction neutral for core EPS in 2015

* Consensus 2019 sales for InterMune lung drug $1.04 bln (Adds additional analyst comment, shares)

By Ben Hirschler and Caroline Copley

LONDON/ZURICH, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Roche Holding AG has agreed to buy U.S. biotech company InterMune Inc for $8.3 billion in cash, helping the world's leading maker of cancer drugs expand into the treatment of rare or incurable diseases.

Roche's efforts to produce successful non-cancer drugs from its own labs have been mixed, with setbacks in recent years for experimental drugs against heart disease, diabetes and schizophrenia.

The Swiss drugmaker already markets Pulmozyme for cystic fibrosis and Xolair for severe asthma in the United States and has other experimental respiratory products in clinical development, including another severe asthma drug called lebrikizumab.

The InterMune deal brings it a promising new drug, pirfenidone, for treating a progressive and ultimately fatal scarring condition of the lungs. Pirfenidone is approved for so-called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in Europe and Canada, and is undergoing U.S. regulatory review.   Continued...