Roche Goes On A Buying Spree | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: April 5, 2007

Roche Goes On A Buying Spree

Swiss company acquires two makers of diagnostics and one provider of antibody technology
Department: Business

In three deals announced within days of each other, Roche plans to acquire two companies in diagnostics and one in antibody technology.

The Swiss drugmaker will acquire BioVeris, a maker of health care diagnostics, for about $600 million. Roche says the purchase will expand its immunochemistry business beyond human diagnostics and into fields such as patient self-testing, drug discovery, and clinical trials. The deal will also give Roche control of the electrochemiluminescence technology that Roche uses in lab diagnostics and allow it to "fully exploit the entire immunochemistry market."

Roche also is buying CuraGen's 454 Life Sciences unit, a developer of sequencing technology, for about $160 million. Roche Diagnostics has been distributing 454 Life Sciences' Genome Sequencer systems and associated reagents.

"This acquisition is part of our strategy to strengthen our position as a major player in the sequencing market. Our existing collaboration is very successful, and we welcome 454 Life Sciences and its employees to the Roche diagnostics division," says division CEO Severin Schwan.

Lastly, Roche has purchased privately held Therapeutic Human Polyclonals for $56.5 million. THP has developed a transgenic mammalian platform for creating human antibodies that, according to Roche, will enable generation of more efficacious therapeutics based on both monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies.

The acquisition "builds on our strength in therapeutic antibodies," says Jonathan Knowles, Roche's head of global research. The company plans to integrate THP into the Roche Pharma Center of Excellence for Protein Research in Penzberg, Germany.

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