Roche has hit the acquisition trail again and has agreed to buy the USA’s Memory Pharmaceuticals, which specialises in the development of debilitating central nervous system disorders.

Under the terms of the deal, Roche will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Memory common stock at a price of $0.61 per share in cash, valuing the deal at around $50 million. This price represents a 319% premium on Memory’s closing price on Monday.

Roche noted that directors, officers and shareholders holding about 29.5% of the New Jersey-based company's outstanding stock have already agreed to tender their shares. After the offer is completed, Roche will acquire any remaining outstanding shares through a second step merger.

Memory has nicotinic alpha-7 agonist drug candidates which are already in partnered programmes with Roche: R3487/MEM 3454 is in Phase II for Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia, while R4996/MEM 63908 is in Phase I for Alzheimer's. William Burns, chief executive of Roche Pharmaceuticals, said the deal will “secure the future development” of these promising nicotinic alpha-7 agonists, noting that “the innovative work carried out by the scientists at Memory will be fully integrated into Roche's R&D portfolio”.

Meantime observers are still waiting to see what will happen with Roche’s $43.7 billion, or $0.89 per share, bid to buy the 44.1% it does not already own in Genentech. That offer was rejected as being too low but the Swiss major says it is still committed to the transaction and is hoping for a negotiated settlement.