Roche cedes power, jobs to Genentech

Worrywarts who thought Roche would corporatize and homogenize Genentech can rest easy. Roche is veering toward Genentech, rather than the other way around, Bloomberg reports.

Even though Roche was the one that bought out Genentech in last year's $46.8 billion deal, the Swiss drugmaker has named Genentech scientists to key jobs--Hal Barron as head of global development, Ian Clark as chief of Roche's North American commercial operations, Pat Yang as global manufacturing chief. Genentech veterans have also taken hold farther down the food chain, running marketing teams and commercial-management roles.

And it was Roche's U.S. operations that suffered most from post-merger layoffs. Roche shuttered its Palo Alto, CA, facility and cut 500 jobs in New Jersey, and more Roche cuts may be on their way, analysts say. "Now that the full integration has taken place, it's the Genentech guys who are being promoted and getting the key positions," Allianz Global Investors' Joerg de Vries-Hippen tells Bloomberg.

And it's not just analysts who think so. "The merger last year looks to me more like an attempt to change the culture at Roche rather than the culture at Genentech," one ex-Genentech scientist tells Bloomberg. Roche was "doing everything they [could] to make us feel welcome, probably at the expense of their own folks a little bit," adds Dennis Kleid, a scientist and patent adviser who was Genentech's fifth employee. And according to one current scientist, Mark Sliwkowski, "If I don't wander outside our research facility you wouldn't know there was anything different. The culture is exactly the same."

- check out the Bloomberg article