Roche rolls out updated software for next-generation sequencing

Roche ($RHHBY) has unveiled a software update for improving DNA sequencing studies, for which advances in information technology have become crucial to improving accuracy and speed of 'omics data analysis.

The Swiss healthcare giant said Tuesday that the version 2.9 software supports accurate sequencing of long ribosomal RNA amplicons, giving researchers a leg up in classifying organisms in microbial studies. The software works for data from Roche's 454 GS FLX+ System, a product of the 454 Life Sciences group with roots in Branford, CT.

Roche, which is the world's top provider of cancer drugs, has for years been seeking a leading role in the genomics game. There are multibillion-dollar opportunities in providing hardware and software to investigate genomes. Last year Roche failed to corral Illumina ($ILMN), a leading provider of next-generation sequencing machines, in an unsolicited buyout campaign. The 454 technology has a smaller user base than Illumina in the sequencing market, but Roche has invested in improvements.

"This is another step in our continued efforts to drive high quality, long read sequencing advancements for the genomics community," said Frank Pitzer, president of Roche Sequencing Solutions, in a statement. "We are actively working to make these same long read developments available on our benchtop GS Junior System in 2014."

- here's the release