Acquisition broadens Roche reach in diagnostics

Roche Group has spent $600 million to buy full ownership of BioVeris Corp. of Gaithersburg, Md., gaining control of BioVeris’ diagnostic technology.

The Swiss company’s U.S. subsidiary, Indianapolis-based Roche Diagnostics, had licensed the electrochemiluminescence technology in machines it sold to hospitals and commercial laboratories—but was limited to diagnosing human diseases.

The acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter, allows Roche Diagnostics to expand sales of the equipment for veterinary applications as well as to human drug discovery and clinical trials.

Roche said it is optimistic sales can be spurred quickly because the clinical trial market is growing about twice as fast as human diagnostic testing, about 10 percent a year. Roche Diagnostics will be charged with expanding the technology’s reach globally.

The acquisition closes a relationship between the companies that at time has been contentious. In 2003, Roche settled a licensing squabble with the former Igen International Inc. by spending more than $1.2 billion to obtain the licensing rights for human diagnostic testing.

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