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Roche Acquires Nanopore Sequencing Firm Genia Technologies for up to $350M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Roche said today that it will acquire Genia Technologies for $125 million in cash and up to $225 million in additional payments tied to milestones. Once the deal closes, Genia will be integrated into the Roche Sequencing Unit.

Genia, based in Mountain View, Calif., has been developing a single-molecule sequencing-by-synthesis technology that uses nanopore-based electrical detection and employs a semiconductor integrated circuit.

Last fall, Genia and its academic collaborators at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology published proof of concept for their NanoTag sequencing technology.

According to Roche, Genia's technology "is expected to reduce the price of sequencing while increasing speed and sensitivity."

Roche has also been working with Pacific Biosciences on developing a sequencing system and assays for clinical diagnostics using PacBio's single-molecule real-time sequencing technology. Last fall, the two companies penned an agreement under which Roche paid PacBio $35 million upfront and could pay up to an additional $40 million in milestones.

Roche first stepped into the next-generation sequencing arena when it acquired 454 Life Sciences in 2007 for $155 million in cash and stock, but it decided last year to phase out that technology by mid-2016.

The company also had research and development partnerships with IBM and DNA Electronics to develop new sequencing technology but discontinued those projects last year.

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