acquires DNA sequencing firm for up to $350 million
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[June 02, 2014]
ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss
drugmaker Roche said it was buying privately held U.S.
gene-sequencing firm Genia Technologies for up to $350
million, securing access to a technology that should
allow it to decipher human genes at a cheaper cost.
Gene sequencing is vital to the development and use of new medicines
by allowing researchers and physicians to better understand the
Under the deal announced on Monday, Genia's shareholders will
receive $125 million in cash and up to $225 million in contingent
payments depending on certain milestones, Roche said in a statement.
The world's largest maker of cancer drugs said earlier this year it
was interested in buying technologies to strengthen its diagnostics
unit. "The acquisition of Genia is a further step for Roche to
introduce a potentially disruptive technology to the market," Roland
Diggelmann, chief operating Officer of Roche Diagnostics, said in
While other sequencing platforms rely on expensive optical sensors,
Genia uses cheap electronic semiconductors, the same as those used
in cell phones and computers, to measure changes in electrical
currents and identify DNA sequences.
Roche said the technology was expected to reduce the price of
sequencing while increasing speed and sensitivity.
In 2012, Roche abandoned an attempt to buy gene-sequencing company
Illumina for $6.7 billion after the U.S. firm's shareholders held
out for a higher price.
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Roche shares were up 1.9 percent at 0748 GMT (3.48 a.m. EDT), versus
a just slightly higher European healthcare index, helped by positive
drug data released at a big cancer conference in the U.S. over the
(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; editing by Jane Baird)
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