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Aug 24, 2015
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Green light for GeneWeave

How GeneWeave technology fits Roche's plans to combat antimicrobial resistance

Roche is buying GeneWeave Biosciences Inc. to beef up the diagnostics side of its infectious disease initiative with a platform to identify bacteria - and antibiotics effective against them - in time to guide treatment decisions. The biotech's Smarticles technology identifies bacteria by making the suspect species or family express a light-producing protein, then reveals susceptibility when an antibiotic dims the glow.

Roche Molecular Diagnostics Head Paul Brown said the deal is the latest the company has done to bring in technologies to tackle the problem of antimicrobial resistance.

"Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest health crises facing the globe. It's a problem that is really a very serious one from a diagnostic and from a therapeutic perspective. We're looking at tackling it from both ends," he said.

Under the Aug. 13 deal, the pharma will pay $190 million up front and GeneWeave shareholders will be eligible for up to $235 million in milestones.

CEO Steve Tablak said GeneWeave chose Roche from among multiple suitors because it had complementary infectious disease technologies on board and would give GeneWeave resources to develop the programs as well as commercial reach.

"It allowed us to fund and develop and build transformative products, and immediately have global reach," he said, adding that all of GeneWeave's employees have been offered...

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