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New Roche Acquisition Kapa Will Continue to Support Other NGS Platforms, Power New NGS Apps

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Following its acquisition of Kapa Biosystems, Roche will continue to offer Kapa's current product portfolio, including library reagent kits for next-generation sequencing, while developing new products for NGS using Kapa's protein engineering technology.

Roche said last week that it plans to acquire Kapa Biosystems for an undisclosed amount. The company, headquartered in Wilmington, Massachusetts, offers a variety of reagent kits for NGS, PCR, and qPCR applications, among them library preparation, quantification, and amplification kits for NGS. Its products support both Illumina's and Thermo Fisher Scientific's Ion Torrent sequencing platforms, which have outdriven Roche's own 454 platform in recent years.

Customers can expect current products to remain available after the acquisition closes. According to Dan Zabrowski, head of Roche's Sequencing Unit, Kapa will "continue to sell as they do today" and "will honor existing agreements," such as Kapa's recent contract with 10X Genomics to supply DNA library prep reagents for that firm's GemCode platform.

In addition, Roche will use Kapa's proprietary directed evolution protein engineering technology to "tailor enzymes to suit specific applications in next-generation DNA and RNA sequencing, DNA amplification, and molecular diagnostics," Zabrowski told GenomeWeb via email.

"NGS library preparation is enzyme intensive and therefore the Kapa technology provides a collection of essential components to our fully integrated NGS solution development [and enables] Roche to improve the workflow of all NGS platforms," he said. "Kapa enzymes have the potential to improve the performance of the entire sequencing workflow and complement our existing technologies and expertise."

Operationally, it appears as though Kapa will largely remain unchanged. Kapa "is a strong company with excellent management," Zabrowski said, and Roche will maintain the firm's current operations in Wilmington and Cape Town, South Africa, while integrating it "as it makes sense to leverage our current Roche expertise and infrastructure."