Swiss drugmaker Roche has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire InterMune for around $8.3bn.

As part of the all-cash transaction, Roche has offered the company $74 per share to fully acquire InterMune. It represents a premium of 38% of InterMune’s closing price on 22 August and a premium of 63% to the closing price on 12 August.

Roche will start a tender offer no later than 29 August to acquire all outstanding shares of InterMune common stock.

The acquisition of the California-based biotechnology company will help Roche expand its respiratory portfolio around the world.

"Our offer provides significant value to InterMune’s shareholders and this acquisition will complement Roche’s strengths in pulmonary therapy."

InterMune’s medicine pirfenidone has been approved in the EU and Canada to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). It is also under regulatory review in the US.

Pirfenidone is an anti-fibrotic agent, which inhibits the synthesis of TGF-beta, a chemical mediator that controls many cell functions, including proliferation and differentiation, and plays a key role in fibrosis.

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Roche CEO Severin Schwan said: "We are very pleased that we reached this agreement with InterMune.

"Our offer provides significant value to InterMune’s shareholders and this acquisition will complement Roche’s strengths in pulmonary therapy.

"We look forward to welcoming InterMune employees into the Roche Group and to making a difference for patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a devastating disease."

InterMune is marketing Pirfenidone as Esbrie in the EU and Canada, after the regulatory approvals in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended an additional phase three clinical trial to support the efficacy of pirfenidone, after the regulatory review in 2010.

InterMune is also carrying out research programmes to improve treatment options for people with IPF; a progressive, irreversible and ultimately fatal disease characterised by progressive loss of lung function due to fibrosis (scarring) in the lungs, which hinders the ability of lungs to absorb oxygen.