SoftBank’s investment was driven by Roche’s subsidiary Genentech, which focuses on drug discovery and development, and is believed to be undervalued
Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group has purchased a non-voting stake worth $5bn in Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche.
With the newly acquired stake, SoftBank becomes one of Roche’s biggest stakeholders, reported Bloomberg.
SoftBank’s investment was driven by Roche’s Genentech unit, which focuses on drug discovery and development, and is believed to be undervalued, the publication said.
Also, the Swiss drugmaker hired computational and systems biologist Aviv Regev last year, who was a member of the Harvard University-affiliated Broad Institute, to lead the Genetech.
SoftBank has made several significant investments this year, including in Pacific Biosciences, Unoja Biopharma, Invitae and CMR Surgical.
The share purchase was carried out by SB Northstar, established last year to manage SoftBank’s public equity trades, the Financial Times reported.
SB Northstar was behind some of the most controversial investments by SoftBank, including the ‘Nasdaq whale’, and the German payments company Wirecard.
The transaction follows months after SoftBank’s announcement to scale back investments by SB Northstar, as the unit incurred $5.6bn in derivative losses.
Also, purchasing a stake in a large pharmaceutical company allows SB Northstar to shift away from its recent investments focused on tech and biotech companies, diversifying its portfolio.
SB Northstar’s investment bets on Roche’s share price, and it believes that Roche has a $380bn market value, and can grow into a $1 trillion company, the Financial Times reported.
Roche is moving closer to regulatory approval of its investigational Alzheimer’s drug candidate gantenerumab.
The company is in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) following the controversial approval of Biogen’s Aduhelm.