Roche Holding AG, the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs, is strengthening its portfolio of medicines for respiratory ailments with an agreement to buy InterMune Inc. for $8.3 billion in cash.

Roche will pay $74 a share for InterMune, an unprofitable biotechnology company that’s awaiting U.S. approval of its biggest drug, the Basel, Switzerland-based company said yesterday in a statement. The agreement reflects Roche’s confidence in pirfenidone, potentially the first drug in the U.S. for a rare lung disease that typically kills in five years.

Subscribe Now

Complete access to real-time information and analysis of news and trends in the industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.