Technology Softbank now has $5B stake in Roche for its...

Softbank now has $5B stake in Roche for its ability to develop drugs using data

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The Japanese multinational group, SoftBank Group Corp., has quietly invested $5 billion in Roche Holding AG, having high hopes with the company’s strategy of using data for drug development.

As reported by Bloomberg, SoftBank is now the largest stakeholder of the Swiss healthcare company, Roche.  

The company’s COVID-19 testing business has recently taken its sales to a new height. Where the pharmaceutical division suffered during the pandemic due to the increasing competition faced by its medicines, the diagnostics unit of the company experienced an acceleration in its operations at the same time. 

The company has witnessed a rise of 8.8% in the shares and a 14.7% gain in the MSCI World Pharma Biotech & Life Sciences Index during the last 12 months.

The Swiss pharma’s voting shares rose up to their highest in early trading on Wednesday, 4th August, to be 1.6%. While the non-voting shares rose as much as 1%. The company has dual-class share structure, with voting and non-voting shares. However, the type of shares SoftBank holds for Roche, is still uncertain.

To head its Genetech Research Institute, Roche hired a computational and systems biologist, Aviv Regev, a key member of the Harvard University-affiliated Broad Institute. Regev joined Roche to help develop better medicines with her research work being brought to practice, she told in a podcast.

The company is now working on developing new drugs for COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s disease treatments as United States approved Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, in June, which proved to be a good sign for Roche to develop its own one.

SoftBank is paying a lot of attention to healthcare and biotech companies at the moment. It has built its stakes in Pacific Biosciences of California Inc., AbCellera Biologics and Sana Biotechnology.

According to the Bloomberg News in February, SoftBank was planning to invest billions in public biotech companies through its asset management arm, SB Northstar, which was launched in 2020.

The founder of SoftBank, Masayoshi Son, launched SB Northstar in order to make use of company’s excessive cash in a productive way.

For the end of the latest quarter, the Japanese investment group has held a sum total of $19.9 billion of “highly liquid” securities which include investments of $1 billion in Microsoft Corp., $3.2 billion in Facebook Inc. and $6.2 billion in Amazon.com Inc., along with some other companies like Lucid Motors and The Hut Group.   

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