Roche to buy GeneWEAVE BioSciences

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche yesterday struck a deal to buy GeneWEAVE BioSciences, a privately-held US company focused on clinical microbiology diagnostics solutions, for up to $425 million.

Under the terms of the deal, Roche will pay $190 million upfront and up to $235 million in contingent product related milestones. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and, once closed, GeneWEAVE will be integrated into Roche Molecular Diagnostics.

GeneWEAVE, based in Los Gatos, California, is a vitro diagnostics company that focuses on clinical microbiology with diagnostic solutions to fight drug-resistant bacteria by enabling surveillance programs, early therapy guidance and antibiotics.

The acquisition provides Roche with GeneWEAVE's Smarticles technology, an innovative class of molecular diagnostics that quickly identifies multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) and assesses antibiotic susceptibility directly from clinical samples, without the need for traditional enrichment, culture or sample preparation processes.

GeneWEAVE's first system in development is the vivoDx - a fully automated, random-access system designed to meet the needs of laboratories addressing MDRO detection and antibiotic therapy guidance. The technology is currently being evaluated in multiple sites across the US.

''With GeneWEAVE, we further strengthen our microbiology diagnostics offerings with cutting-edge technology that will aid in the fight against drug-resistant bacteria. This technology has the potential to provide healthcare professionals access to quick and accurate diagnoses that can lead to rapid, informed treatment decisions,'' said Roland Diggelmann, COO of Roche Diagnostics.

''We are very excited to continue developing innovative microbiologic diagnostics solutions as part of the Roche Molecular Diagnostics team,'' said Steve Tablak, CEO of GeneWEAVE. ''Roche is the ideal company to deliver on the promise of our Smarticles technology.''

Roche has been expanding its antibacterial research after acquiring Switzerland's Polyphor in 2013 for $560 million.

Early this year Roche acquired Meiji Seika Pharma for $750 million and an agreement with Fedora for the ex-Japan rights to OP0595, a Phase I beta-lactamase inhibitor.