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Genentech To Roche: "Take That!"

While much to my chagrin Genentech isn't matching Roche's aggressive media strategy in the ongoing takeover battle, during parts of the biotech company's presentation to analysts and investors today, at least two executives pulled no punches.

David Ebersman put up a slide titled, "Roche Pipeline as of 12/31/08." (You can check it out at www.gene.com. It's slide #20 in Ebersman's deck.) The drugs filled the screen. But then he deleted all of the drugs in Roche's pipeline that come from Genentech and there was vast white space. The audience laughed, some even applauded. Touche'.

Then, Chairman and CEO Art Levinson got up to make his closing remarks.

For the first time he publicly talked about getting the call from Roche Chairman Franz Humer last July informing him Roche wanted to buy DNA .

He said, "I was sad. I was disappointed. We could certainly understand their motivation to acquire us."

But he had the killer slide in his deck. It's called, "Roche Pharmaceutical Division Sales, Top Selling Pharmaceutical Products." It had several silos, each representing a year of revenue in two-year increments dating back 10 years, the percentage contributed each year by Genentech and how it climbed to 66 percent last year. Genentech's portion was at the top of each silo, which was then consumed by animated flames and went up in smoke. If I'm not drawing a good picture, it was to illustrate, again, what Roche would be without DNA.

That's what in Yiddish they call "chutzpah"...guts.

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