Novartis Considers Acquiring Berna Biotech

January 5, 2006
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

Novartis Considers Acquiring Berna Biotech

Novartis (Basel, Switzerland, www.novartis.com) announced that it is seeking to acquire Swiss vaccines manufacturer BernaBiotech AG (Bern, Switzerland, www.bernabiotech.com). This latest development poses a threat to CrucellNV (Leiden, Netherlands, www.crucell.com), the only other company vying for the biotech firm.

According to Novartis, the company is planning to combine Berna’s operations with those of Chiron Corporation, a US vaccines company that Novartis is currently in the process of acquiring.

“The combination of Berna and Chiron would offer complementary geographic coverage and product ranges,” said a Novartis statement. “Novartis would also gain access to the attractive proprietary technology platforms of Berna. In addition, a potential acquisition would assure continued Swiss ownership of an increasingly important healthcare business with public health responsibilities.”

Novartis did not disclose the terms on which it was prepared to bid for Berna. Crucell NV has made an all-share exchange offer to purchase the company.

The Berna Board of Directors said that they have granted Novartis access to due diligence information to support a firm offer. “The board will then have to judge if this new offer is a superior one to the published offer of Crucell in all terms and conditions.”

Crucell NV acknowledged Berna Biotech’s announcement of a request for due diligence information received from Novartis, and told its shareholders in a statement “that Crucell's offer is the only offer that has been made, it is recommended by the board of Berna, and confirms that Crucell remains committed to the proposed transaction.”

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