Roche scoops up AvanSci Bio tissue dissection technology to bolster molecular Dx offerings

Dan Zabrowski

Roche ($RHHBY) snatched up AvanSci Bio's tissue dissection technology for the analysis of tumors, diversifying its product offerings and continuing its molecular diagnostics push.

Through the deal, Roche will gain access to Pleasanton, CA-based AvanSci Bio's tissue dissection system, which provides more detailed information about specific areas of a tumor and helps researchers extract tissue for real-time PCR, microarrays and sequencing. The company will also inherit AvanSci Bio's automated MilliSect device, a highly precise tool that allows more than 90% of an enriched tumor sample to be analyzed. The system will be tested at select sites in 2015 as part of a development program for a next-generation version of the device, Roche said in a statement.

"This innovative system will expand our diagnostic tool kit allowing us to link the diagnostic hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stain with sequencing analysis through high quality sample preparation," Dan Zabrowski, head of Roche Tissue Diagnostics and Sequencing Solutions, said in a statement. "It will also enable us to meet the critical challenge of tumor heterogeneity."

The deal follows in the footsteps of another milestone for Roche, as last week the Swiss company snagged Ariosa Diagnostics to get its hands on the company's noninvasive prenatal test for genetic abnormalities. The companies did not reveal any financial details, but Roche said it sees promise in Ariosa's Harmony Prenatal blood test, which evaluates cell-free DNA that floats in the maternal bloodstream to detect genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome and can be used as early as 10 weeks into pregnancy.

Roche is also expanding on other diagnostic fronts, scoring regulatory clearance for its strep test and setting its sights on China with a new diagnostic manufacturing facility. In November, the company said it would sink 450 million Swiss francs into a manufacturing site in Suzhou, China, to address an increased demand for diagnostic tests in the Asia-Pacific region. Roche recently won an FDA blessing for its cobas Strep A test, a first-of-its-kind diagnostic that uses DNA from throat swab specimens to detect strep throat in less than 15 minutes.

- read Roche's statement

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