Roche has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of mtm laboratories AG (mtm), a privately-held company based in Heidelberg, Germany. mtm is a developer of in vitro diagnostics with a focus on early detection and diagnosis of cervical cancer, the largest early detection market in oncology. mtm will become part of Roche’s Tissue Diagnostics (Ventana Medical Systems Inc) business unit. Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will pay mtm shareholders an upfront payment of approximately 130 million EUR as well as up to approximately 60 million EUR upon reaching performance-related milestones. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the coming weeks.

“Pathologists increasingly rely on the rapid and successful identification and clinical validation of molecular markers associated with cervical cancer,” said Daniel O’Day, COO Roche Diagnostics. “mtm products are highly complementary to Roche’s innovative cobas Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) assay for cervical cancer screening, which was launched in the US in April of this year. As a result of the acquisition, Roche will have a comprehensive portfolio offering for cervical cancer testing from cytological screening to histological diagnosis and provide previously unavailable levels of medical value to gynecologists and patients worldwide.”

mtm’s proprietary test solutions are based on the p16 biomarker and have been developed for the identification and diagnosis of pre-cancerous cervical lesions. p16, a gene involved in tumor suppression in the cell, is an established marker of the early oncogenic process leading to cancer. The level of p16 protein becomes markedly increased after persistent HPV infection leads to oncogenic transformation of cells in the cervix.

“The combination of cobas HPV and p16 tests may redefine the standard of care for cervical cancer testing by improving detection, reducing unnecessary cervical biopsies, and improving the confirmation of cervical pre-cancer,” added O’Day.

Source: Roche