Roche to buy rest of genetics firm Foundation Medicine


Roche has made an offer to buy the remaining shares in cancer genetics firm Foundation Medicine (FMI) for $2.4 billion.

The Swiss pharma giant already bought 56% of FMI in 2015 for $1 billion, and has put in a tender for all of the outstanding FMI shares that it did not already own. The deal will be finalised later this year.

Foundation Medicine’s work on the human genome will allow Roche to identify molecular alterations in a patient’s cancer cells and match them with targeted therapies, immunotherapies and clinical trials.

Roche’s ethos has long been to personalise care where possible and it relies on cutting-edge technology to achieve this. It has developed medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system, among other areas.

Already, Roche is the world leader when it comes to in vitro diagnostics – whereby samples are removed from the body – and tissue-based cancer diagnostics.

Troy Cox, CEO of FMI, explained that the two companies share the philosophy that every cancer patient should have access to personalised care informed by validated molecular information.

He said, “Joining forces with the Swiss pharma as an independent operating company allows Foundation Medicine to continue its collaboration with Roche, as well as our biopharma partners, to drive ubiquitous access to comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) testing and innovative data services.”

Daniel O’Day, CEO, Roche Pharmaceuticals, added: “This is important to our personalised healthcare strategy as we believe molecular insights and the broad availability of high quality comprehensive genomic profiling are key enablers for the development of, and access to, new cancer treatments."

“We will preserve FMI’s autonomy while supporting them in accelerating their progress.”

Roche values each FMI share at $137, and FMI will operate separately as an autonomous, singular legal entity.

This echoes the approach Roche took when it bought Genentech in two stages – the first in 1990 for $2.1 billion and the remainder in 2008 for $47 billion.

Also, the Swiss pharma is in the process of buying healthcare technology and services startup Flatiron Health for $1.9 billion.

Its clinico-genomic database contains information on nearly 20,000 patients and is one of the largest and most comprehensive information repositories of its kind in oncology.