Roche acquires Signature Diagnostics to advance translational research for next generation sequencing (NGS) diagnostics

RocheRoche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced the acquisition of Signature Diagnostics AG (Signature), a privately held company based in Potsdam, Germany. Signature is a translational oncology and genomics company that develops large blood plasma and tissue biobanks in multiple cancers, including colorectal and lung, which are constructed from multicenter prospective clinical studies. Signature uses the samples from its biobanks along with accompanying clinical progression and genetic data to develop and validate circulating cell free DNA (cfDNA) tests (1) which have the potential to advance non-invasive treatment response monitoring for patients with cancer.

"Biobanks play an important role in uncovering the cause or origin of disease such as cancer which is important in translational research and the development of personalized therapies for patients," said Roland Diggelmann, COO, Roche Diagnostics. "Signature represents a unique bridge between high value cancer biobanks and NGS assay development. Roche plans to leverage Signature’s expertise in both of these areas to accelerate the development of targeted NGS-based diagnostics in the future. Biobanks can also be used for biomarker discovery and hypothesis testing with Pharma."

"We are very pleased Roche recognizes the importance of high-quality longitudinal cancer biobanks for the development of novel NGS-based diagnostics," says André Rosenthal, Ph.D. and CEO of Signature. "Joining forces with Roche is very exciting as it will allow us to further develop our NGS assays for sequencing tests using cfDNA which may advance the development of non-invasive treatment response monitoring for cancer patients."

Signature will be integrated into Roche Sequencing Unit and will continue to focus on expanding its innovative genomic signature portfolio.

About Signature
Signature Diagnostics AG is a translational oncology and genomics company based in Potsdam, Germany. Founded in 2004, Signature develops large tumor tissue and plasma biobanks in multiple cancers, including colorectal and lung cancer in the framework of large multicenter prospective clinical studies. A key aspect of the translational oncology work is Signature's biobanks with longitudinal plasma samples from cancer patients. The company also develops several next generation sequencing (NGS) assays using targeted gene panels1. Signature has expertise in developing ultra-deep sequencing tests utilizing cfDNA, which may advance the development of non-invasive treatment response monitoring for cancer patients.

About Roche
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world's largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and neuroscience. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. Roche's personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostics that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. Founded in 1896, Roche has been making important contributions to global health for more than a century. Twenty-four medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and chemotherapy.

In 2014, the Roche Group employed 88,500 people worldwide, invested 8.9 billion Swiss francs in R&D and posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.

1. Signature products are For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

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