Roche Takes Full Control of Genomic Profiler

The $2.4 billion purchase of 44% of Foundation Medicine raises Roche's bet on the development of personalized cancer treatments and care.
Matthew HellerJune 19, 2018

Swiss drugmaker Roche said Tuesday it will pay $2.4 billion for the 44% of Foundation Medicine it doesn’t already own in a move that signals the increasing importance of personalized cancer care.

The deal, which values Foundation at $5.3 billion, gives Roche full control of a company that develops tests to help doctors understand the genetic profile of patients’ tumors and guide them to effective therapies.

Roche will pay $137 per share for the 44% stake, three years after it purchased 56% of Foundation for $1 bilion.

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“This is important to our personalized 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,” Roche Pharmaceuticals CEO Daniel O’Day said in a news release.

As Reuters reports, Roche has been making bolt-on acquisitions as “the world’s largest marker of cancer drugs seeks to tap into promising technology developed by biotech companies to drive future growth as its older drugs face competition.”

Earlier this year, it agreed to buy the rest of U.S. cancer data company Flatiron Health for $1.9 billion.

Foundation was founded in 2010 and, according to its website, it has so far profiled more than 180,000 patients. Its flagship test, FoundationOne, is used for solid tumor cancers including lung, breast, and ovarian.

“Foundation Medicine and Roche share the philosophy that every cancer patient should have access to personalized care informed by validated molecular information,” Foundation CEO Troy Cox said.

“Joining forces with Roche 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 CGP [comprehensive genomic profiling] testing and innovative data services,” he added.

Vontobel analyst Stefan Schneider said the deal aligned very well with Roche’s position as an early leader in matching treatment to genetic profiles.

“This isn’t only an advantage for the patients, but also should allow Roche to have more effective and targeted drugs, which should improve drug development and ultimately pricing power,” he told Reuters.