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Roche makes third purchase in three days

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche has announced plans to buy Arius Research of Canada for C$191 million (SFr195.6 million).

This content was published on July 23, 2008 - 15:35

Roche said the move – the latest in a series of purchases of North American biotechnology companies – would give it access to a new screening platform for antibody therapeutics, FunctionFIRST.

"Arius's promising platform and early pipeline of new antibody candidates represent an excellent fit with our own progressing research in the fields of cancer and immunology," said Lee Babiss, head of global research at Roche, on Wednesday.

On Monday Roche announced a $43.7 billion (SFr44.7 billion) offer for the remaining shares of the biotechnology pioneer Genentech. Roche already owns 55.9 per cent of the California-based company, manufacturer of the widely prescribed anticancer drug Avastin and other popular drugs.

A day later Roche said it would buy the gene therapy company Mirus Bio for $125 million. The Wisconsin-based company is developing RNAi, or gene silencing, a technology that uses mechanisms within the body to target and "turn off" certain genes associated with cancer and other diseases.

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