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Novartis has bowed out of the race for Swiss vaccine maker Berna Biotech after completing due diligence. Novartis' exit paves the way for an acquisition of Berna by the Dutch firm Crucell, which in November offered to buy Berna in a share exchange valued at roughly $450 million. That exchange was expected to begin in mid-December, but Novartis stepped in at the last hour to evaluate a cash bid for Berna. Last week, Crucell shareholders approved the offer for Berna. Analysts say Novartis' decision could signal its interest in Swiss biotech major Serono, which in November hired Goldman Sachs to explore strategic alternatives.
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