Having started 2014 with major doubts hanging over its genomics operations, Roche ($RHHBY) closed the year with a renewed focus on the sector. The latest step in its plan was completed just before the holidays, when Roche agreed to buy Bina Technologies for its next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis platform.
The acquisition of Bina for an undisclosed sum comes 6 months after Roche bought DNA sequencing business Genia Technologies for up to $350 million. Bina will continue to serve other clients and have a degree of operational independence from Roche--much like the way AstraZeneca ($AZN) is working with Definiens--while also tightening its ties to the Swiss pharma. Genia and Bina will work together to incorporate their respective sequencing and data analysis platforms.
Buying Bina gives Roche an informatics platform to complement the sequencing and NGS sample preparation technologies it has acquired in recent months. "An informatics platform is an integral part of any sequencing system and we think the Bina product and their capabilities will position us very nicely to develop a differentiated sequencing system," Dan Zabrowski, head of Roche's Sequencing Unit, told GenomeWeb.
Roche is encouraging Bina to push ahead with its existing development plans, which include a second iteration of its technology. Zabrowski said the second phase will facilitate the comparison of an individual's genome with the broader patient population. With Illumina's ($ILMN) HiSeq X Ten making mass genome sequencing feasible--and some healthcare systems conducting population-scale NGS programs--such comparisons could become increasingly useful.