Roche launches DNA kit amid applied science shake-up

Roche Diagnostics ($RHHBY) has kicked off commercialization for a new bead-based DNA reagent kit, a sequencing tool the company hopes will boost revenue in its flagging research-use technology business.

The SeqCap EZ Pure Capture Bead Kit is designed to capture and purify DNA sample libraries prior to sequencing, providing high-quality target enrichment and sequencing results, the company said. The kit, distributed through Roche's NimbleGen unit, works with sequencers made by would-be acquire Illumina ($ILMN).

Meanwhile, Roche is still on track to completely dissolve its applied sciences business by year's end, planning to fold all of its reagents into the dedicated sequencing unit of Roche Diagnostics. In the process, Roche is slashing 110 jobs in Germany and another 60 in Branford, CT.

Roche blames cuts in research funding around the world and discontinued products for its applied science slump, and the unit slid another 10% last quarter. However, Roche's polymerase chain reaction technology and nucleic acid product lines remain lucrative, and the company will roll those into its molecular diagnostics arm.

As for sequencing technologies like SeqCap, Roche has made no secret of its desire to build up its genomics business, launching failed efforts to buy Illumina and reportedly coveting Life Technologies ($LIFE) before Thermo Fisher ($TMO) finally won out for $13.6 billion.

Despite those false starts, Roche's continued product debuts in the sequencing field suggest it's hardly settling for its current market share, and the company will look to M&A again to snatch a better foothold in the space.

"This launch is another step in our continued and committed efforts to improve customer convenience and enhance the efficiency of genomics research based on our industry-leading target enrichment technology for next-generation sequencing," Roche Sequencing Solutions President Thomas Schinecker said in a statement.

- read the announcement