Roche CEO says no need to buy out Japanese subsidiary Chugai

When it comes to its investment in Japan's Chugai Pharmaceutical, Roche CEO Severin Schwan says he likes things just the way they are. "We don't see changes in the structural set-up ... currency fluctuations would not drive such strategic M&A decisions," Reuters reported Schwan told analysts Thursday when discussing first-quarter earnings. The Swiss drugmaker ($RHHBY) owns just shy of 60% the Japanese subsidiary, after first investing in it in 2002. Schwan got the question because of speculation that it might want to buy it all, like it did in 2009 when it paid $47 billion for the piece of the biotech Genentech it did not own. But the CEO pointed out that it has a different contractual structure with Chugai and has restructured its own business in Japan to avoid duplication. Chugai last month got approval in Japan for a subcutaneous version of Actemra, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. The drug has been available as an intravenous formula, but the subQ version works more quickly and can be administered at home. The formula is awaiting approval in the U.S. and Europe. Roche yesterday reported a 13% increase in U.S. pharma sales for the first quarter--and 6% growth globally. Story | More