BASEL, Switzerland — Talks have been extended in Swiss drug company Lonza Group’s takeover bid for Toronto-based drugmaker Patheon. In a statement released early Monday, a special committee of independent directors of Patheon and Lonza announced the extension until Oct. 15. Lonza, which is offering US$3.55 per share or $485 million, is the white knight bidder for Patheon, which had been fighting against an earlier hostile bid by New York private equity firm JLL. JLL is Patheon’s largest shareholder. While JLL’s own bid expired in August, it has explicitly stated that with 57 per cent ownership of Patheon shares, it can and will block the Lonza deal. For its part, Patheon has said it may be able to go ahead with the Lonza bid without the approval of JLL because Lonza may be willing to waive the condition that it receive at least two-thirds of all shares under the offer. Meantime, Patheon will try to hold a special shareholder meeting Dec. 15. But one possible hitch in that plan is a legal challenge filed by shareholders Joaquin Viso and Olga Lizardi, which seeks an order requiring the meeting to be held no later than Oct. 30. Patheon has said it will fight that challenge in court. Patheon is a global provider of contract development and manufacturing services to the pharmaceutical industry, providing such services to more than 300 pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.