Roche shops around for sequencing tech with Lumora buy

Dan Zabrowski

Roche ($RHHBY) has been hot on the trail of sequencing deals this past year, snatching up companies to build out its genomic analysis offerings. In its latest move, the company is buying sequencing products from molecular diagnostics firm Lumora to support its burgeoning portfolio.

Neither side is revealing financial terms, but Roche is considering using Lumora's sequencing tech to improve its workflow. Lumora's Heat Elution technology for nucleic acid purification works for many sample types including whole blood, sputum, buccal swabs and formalin fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumor tissue, which is particularly difficult to screen. The technology will give Roche a "simple and automated" nucleic acid isolation method that works in "minutes instead of hours," the company said in a statement.

"Lumora's Heat Elution technology can be integrated into an automated sequencing workflow, which makes it an idea fit for Roche's sequencing vision of a sample-in-results-out workflow," Dan Zabrowski, head of Roche Tissue Diagnostics and Roche Sequencing Unit, said in a statement.

The news comes a week after Roche announced that it would take a deeper dive into sequencing, snatching up Kapa Biosystems for an undisclosed amount to get its hands on the company's genomic tools. Kapa's protein engineering technology allows customers to produce and screen large numbers enzyme variants, building on Roche's goal of developing a "differentiated NGS portfolio" that will give customers a complete genetic testing solution, Roland Diggelmann, COO of Roche Diagnostics, said at the time of the deal.

But the Kapa deal isn't Roche's first foray into sequencing M&A. Last year, Roche said it would shell out $350 million for DNA sequencing business Genia Technologies, inheriting the company's single-molecule semiconductor DNA sequencing platform. In December, the diagnostics titan grabbed DNA sequencing outfit Bina Technologies to gain access to Bina's genomic management tool.

In February, the company snatched up Germany's Signature Diagnostics to advance its cancer testing portfolio. Roche plans to use the company's next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology and samples to develop circulating cell free DNA tests to noninvasively monitor patients with cancer.

- here's Roche's statement

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