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Roche Acquires Cancer Diagnostics Company

Squamous cell carcinoma in the cervix (National Cancer Institute)

Squamous cell carcinoma in the cervix (National Cancer Institute)

The global pharmaceutical company Roche has acquired mtm laboratories AG in Heidelberg, Germany, which specializes in detection and diagnosis of cervical cancer.  mtm will become part of Roche’s Ventana Medical Systems Inc. business unit.

Under the agreement, Roche will pay mtm shareholders an upfront payment of EUR 130 million (USD 182 million) as well as up to EUR 60 million (USD 84 million) upon reaching performance milestones. The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks.

mtm’s tests are based on the p16 biomarker and developed for the identification and diagnosis of pre-cancerous cervical lesions. The p16 gene is involved in tumor suppression in the cell, and an established early marker of processes leading to cancer. The level of p16 protein becomes markedly increased after persistent Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection leads to cancerous transformation of cells in the cervix.

The mtm CINtec Plus Cytology kit is approved for use in Europe to identify over-expression of p16 in cervical pap test samples to detect pre-cancerous lesions. mtm’s CINtec Histology detects over-expression of p16 and is used in conjunction with traditional staining techniques to aid in identifying cervical cancer in biopsy samples.

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