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Big Pharma Buyout Could Affect San Diego Plant

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Aired 4/20/09

San Diego's biotech community is closely watching the wave of mergers in pharmaceutical industry. Especially one that would change the ownership of an Oceanside plant. KPBS Reporter Tom Fudge has more.

Analysts say a 46 billion dollar buyout of Genentech may be just days away. The buyer is Swiss drug giant Roche, and one of the pieces in play is an Oceanside plant that employs nearly 500 people. Company mergers often result in layoffs as firms get rid of redundant operations. But biotech analyst Jason Kantor, with RBC Capital Markets, says Roche is unlikely to cut manufacturing jobs, like those in Oceanside. The Oceanside plant makes the colon cancer drug Avastin. Despite the down economy, Genentech has seen its stock value rise over the past six months. The company, based in San Francisco, would not comment on the possible buyout. Big pharma companies, with expiring drug patents, often try to replace that revenue by buying other drug makers. Tom Fudge, KPBS news.

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