By Stephanie Murg, Managing Director, G2 Intelligence
With some 60% of its therapeutic candidates now being co-developed with companion diagnostics, Roche (Basel, Switzerland) is investing in both its diagnostics business and its drug pipeline with two recently announced acquisitions. The company has agreed to purchase microbiology diagnostics firm GeneWEAVE BioSciences (Los Gatos, Calif.) for $190 million plus up to $235 million in milestone payments. It has also inked a deal to acquire Kapa Biosystems (Wilmington, Mass.), a provider of genomic tools; financial terms of the latter deal, announced Wednesday, were not disclosed.
Privately held GeneWEAVE will bring to Roche a class of molecular diagnostics that rapidly identifies multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) and assesses antibiotic susceptibility directly from clinical samples, without the need for enrichment, culture, or sample preparation processes. The company is currently developing its first platform: vivoDx, a fully automated, random-access system designed to meet the needs of laboratories addressing MDRO detection and antibiotic therapy guidance. The technology is now being evaluated in multiple sites across the U.S. and will be integrated into the Roche Molecular Diagnostics business.
In Kapa Biosystems, also privately held, Roche will gain access to genomic tools and proprietary technologies to optimize enzymes for next-generation sequencing (NGS), as well as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and real-time PCR applications, although the products are currently classified for research use only. Kapa`s portfolio of NGS reagents includes enzymes such as novel DNA polymerases, with the potential to improve the performance of the sequencing workflow.
“This acquisition builds on Roche’s commitment to develop a differentiated NGS portfolio that will provide our customers with a complete genetic testing solution,” said Roland Diggelmann, COO of Roche’s Diagnostics Division. “Kapa’s technology and products complement our current expertise and offerings such as the portfolio of target enrichment products for NGS.”