Roche CEO knocks back speculation of Novartis merger

ZURICH Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:37am EDT

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ZURICH Oct 17 (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche on Thursday knocked back recent speculation it could merge with cross-town rival Novartis.

"Let me be very clear on that point. Nothing has changed with regard to Roche's position towards Novartis," Chief Executive Severin Schwan told journalists on a call.

"The families Hoffmann and Oeri - which own the majority of Roche's voting shares - have repeatedly stated their commitment to Roche's independence." (Reporting by Caroline Copley)