Swiss Drug Company Roche Acquires New Biobank
Across the world, biobanks are becoming an increasingly popular and important presence in numerous areas, from environmental research to translational medicine. For this reason, organizations around the world are racing to build or acquire biobanks or increase their existing biobanking software, such as lab sample tracking equipment. One of the most recent examples of this is the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche, which bought the German cancer biobank firm Signature Diagnostics in February 2015.
Founded in 2004, Signature Diagnostics is a privately-held oncology and genomic firm which focuses on translational research. As a result, the company develops large blood plasma and tissue biobanks for multiple forms of cancer, which it then uses to develop circulating cell free DNA tests. Because of this work, Signature Diagnostics has become well-known in the biobanking community for its biorepository software and genetic sequencing analyses. Now, Roche has acquired the company to help with its oncological research. This is the fifth molecular diagnostics deal the company has made this year.
Representatives from Roche stated that biobanking software, from lab sample tracking equipment to genetic sequencing, will play a huge role in uncovering the cause of cancer and developing personalized therapies for patients. Additionally, they noted that biobanks can be used to discover biomarkers and test different hypotheses. Roche reportedly plans to use these capabilities to develop new cancer drugs and therapies, including non-invasive treatment response monitoring.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but it is believed that Signature Diagnostics will be afforded the opportunity to continue expanding its genomic signature portfolio. Signature Diagnostics will be integrated into Roche’s Sequencing Unit. This unit, part of the company’s Diagnostics Division, has seen a 6% increase in sales in the past year, reaching profits of $11.6 billion. However, this is unlikely to be Roche’s final deal or improvement: the company also announced it would be taking a major stake in Foundation Medicine (FMI) for $1.18 billion last month.