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Roche invests in US cancer specialist firm

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Roche invests in US cancer specialist firm
Photo: Roche
10:44 CET+01:00
Basel-based pharmaceuticals giant Roche says it is acquiring a majority stake in US firm Foundation Medicine Inc. (FMI), a high-tech specialist in molecular information about cancer, for more than a billion dollars.

The Swiss drug company said on Monday that it plans to acquire up to 56.3 percent of FMI through a share offer and the acquisition of newly issued shares.

Roche plans to acquire around 15.6 million FMI shares at $50 per share (more than double its recent trading price of around $24) at a cost of $780 million, in addition to acquiring five million newly issued shares at the same price for $250 million.

It also plans research and development collaboration with possible funding of more than $150 million in funding over five years to accelerate the development of new products and to “better design and understand the results of clinical trials based on molecular information”.

Under the agreement, Michael J. Pellini, FMI’s president and CEO, and the company’s management team will continue to lead FMI.

Roche said the deal would provide it with a “unique opportunity” to maximize the identification and development of “novel treatment options for cancer patients”.

Daniel O’Day, Roche chief operating officer, said the collaboration has the potential to improve the development of medicines and patient care.

“By combining FMI’s pioneering approach to genomics and molecular information with Roche’s expertise in the field of oncology, we can bring personalized healthcare in oncology to the next level,” O’Day said in a statement.

FMI’s technology allows it to provide information that can “identify the molecular alterations in a patient’s cancer and match them with the relevant targeted therapies and clinical trials”.

The FMI board has unanimously approved the deal, Roche said.

The company expects the agreement to be finalized in the second quarter of this year.

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