Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Roche munches again

Roche is on quite a little acquisition spree in the diagnostics business: first went 454 with its first-to-market sequencing-by-synthesis technology, earlier this month it was DNA microarray manufacturer NimbleGen in another friendly action, and now Roche has launched a hostile bid for immunodiagostics company Ventana.

Three companies, three technologies with proven or developing relevance to diagnostics. What else might be in the radar? One possibility would be protein microarrays, though there are few players in the functional array space (useful for scanning patient responses) -- but perhaps an antibody capture array company? Not yet a proven technology, but one to watch.

All of these buys have a strong personalized medicine / genomics-driven medicine angle. Ventana makes an assay for HER2 to complement Genentech/Roche's Herceptin (Roche owns a big chunk of Genentech & I think is the ex-US distributor); 454 and Nimblegen are solidly in the genomics arena. Roche already has Affy-based chips out for drug metabolizing enzyme polymorphisms.


Anonymous said...

I am not so sure about protein arrays or antibody agents yet. Too immature. There are better proteomics platforms to pursue and that might be where they go. That said, I remember talking to someone from Roche who said they are relatively agnostic of what method they use to develop diagnostics.

Anonymous said...

Don't overlook the past Roche Diagnostic/RAS significant investments/relationships with IGEN, Geron, Combimatrix, DeCode, Epigenomics, Disatronics, Affymetrix ...; not exactly financially successful.