But there is "no intention of increasing the price" of $75 a share, which was first announced in June, apparently to Ventana's chagrin. And Franz Humer remains ''very confident" Ventana will succumb. The offer closes on Nov. 1.
Ventana, however, has consistently argued that the price - which is now below the level at which the company is trading - is too low, and few shareholders have sold to Roche. For his part, Humer stresses there had been no rival offers for Ventana and "the value can only be realised with Roche". (You can watch the video, too, by going here).
The Ventana bid is part of Roche's broader strategy to "strengthen in the medium and long term" the diagnostics part of the business, which Humer says would continue to represent about 20 per cent of sales of the group. And Humer argues that greater benefits could be reaped from joint research and development on diagnostics and treatment when both functions were controlled by a single company.
The alternative approach of alliances between drugs and diagnostics companies that remained independent from each other were less effective "because both sides protect their IP (intellectual property)," he tells the Times. And over time, companies offering a combination of diagnostics and ever more personalised drugs to doctors would have a competitive edge because "you can justify your pricing based on the diagnostic".
Humer stresses that the appointment earlier this month of JÃ¼rgen Schwiezer, 63, as head of Roche's diagnostics division was not an interim position, and he could remain in the post for a couple of years, but that there were three candidates beneath him with the skills to replace him after that.
Schwiezer was appointed after his predecessor, Severin Schwan, 40, was named this summer to succeed Humer as ceo, although Humer will remain chairman. Humer tells the Times he had long wanted to separate the roles because it was becoming ever more complex to run boards and that "the only thing was to ensure the chairman and chief executive get along and preferably like each other". And he insists it was also important to have someone from a younger generation who was "not exactly like me".
Humer goes on to say it's possible to be a success or a failure with both systems - splitting or maintaining a single chairman and chief executive - but the disadvantage of the UK system of not allowing the chief executive to become chairman meant "you lose an enormous amount of knowledge".
And he expresses optimism about China as a centre for research over the coming decades but said he was more sceptical about India over its approach to protecting intellectual property. "I would not put core research and development there," he says. "I will wait for an environment welcoming to innovation before I invest too much."