The Ares-Serono Group got a SFr $120 million (U.S. $84.5 million)long-term loan to finance expansion of its biotechnology program. TheGeneva-based company will earmark much of the money to increase itsbiotechnological production capacity."We intend to further strengthen our leadership position in the field ofbiotechnology in Europe," said Ernesto Bertarelli, deputy CEO of thegroup. "With a current pipeline of six recombinant pharmaceuticals,the Ares-Serono Group must have adequate biotech productionfacilities to meet market expectations."Near-term expansion plans include building a biotech facility inCorsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland, and capacity expansion at existingsites.In an unrelated development, the board of directors at Israel-basedInterPharm Laboratories Ltd. unanimously concluded that it wouldoffer no opinion concerning Ares-Serono's tender offer for alloutstanding shares of InterPharm. The neutral position by the boardleaves it to shareholders to decide for themselves whether it is to theiradvantage to accept the offer.On May 6, Ares-Serono, which already owns 76 percent of InterPharm,offered $22 per share, or about $33 million, for the 1.48 million sharesit doesn't already own. The $22 offer per share was a 76 percentpremium to the May 5 closing price of InterPharm (NASDAQ:IPLLF)stock. _ Jim Shrine

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