Big pharma keeps busy

October 21, 2008

It was a busy day for several leading drug companies, as they made acquisitions, or sought to reassure investors they have the means to follow through with planned acquisitions:

glaxo.jpg** GlaxoSmithKline Plc is acquiring Biotene, maker of a leading over-the-counter treatment for dry mouth, for $170 million in a move to bolster its consumer healthcare business.

** Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG confirmed its commitment to a $43.7 billion bid for the rest of Genentech Inc and reported a 2 percent fall in nine-month sales to 33.3 billion Swiss francs ($29.26 billion).

** Novartis AG has reached a deal to buy the pulmonary drug delivery unit of Nektar Therapeutics for $115 million in cash.


** The Paris and Amsterdam airport authorities will own 8 percent of each other in a strategic alliance and cross-shareholding agreement announced by the French government.

** Russian airline S7 will file a “serious” bid for Austrian Airlines on Tuesday but it will tie it to conditions and ask for more time in the auction due to end next week, a source close to S7 said.

** Google Inc Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said the company had agreed to keep talking with the U.S. Justice Department about its proposed online advertising deal with Yahoo Inc.

** Brazilian mining giant Vale denied rumors that it was preparing a renewed proposal to buy a stake in Swiss rival Xstrata.

** Verizon Wireless, the second-largest U.S. mobile service provider, says it intends to follow through with its acquisition of Alltel Corp, despite tough credit market conditions, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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