Swiss healthcare company Roche has agreed to acquire Germany-based biotech firm TIB Molbiol Group to expand its polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test portfolio.

TIB Molbiol, which is a manufacturer of custom oligonucleotides, partnered in the development of molecular diagnostics and built a range of diagnostic assays specifically for inherited genetic and somatic mutation testing.

The company has also developed quantitative assays for haematology and transplantation medicine.

Available as modular kits, the products enable to create symptomatic panels by combining assays, including emerging pathogens.

In addition, the company offers custom made LightSNiP assays for SNP analysis to support customers performing human genotyping.

TIB Molbiol CEO and founder Olfert Landt said: “We have been collaborating for two decades and have spearheaded innovation in the molecular diagnostics industry as partners. We are looking forward to contributing to the strong network of Roche Diagnostics.”

TIB Molbiol’s portfolio consists of more than 45 CE-IVD assays, as well as over 100 research use assays that are already available on Roche’s installed base of LightCycler PCR systems and MagNA Pure sample preparation systems.

The acquisition will enable Roche to expand its portfolio of molecular diagnostics solutions with the addition of a range of assays for infectious diseases, including for the identification of SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Roche stated that both firms have worked together for over 20 years to address critical healthcare requirements, including biological threats such as SARS, anthrax, avian influenza virus H5N1, MERS, the novel influenza virus H1N1 swine, Ebola virus, Zika virus and SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants.

Roche Diagnostics CEO Thomas Schinecker said: “With this acquisition, we can expand our offering of tests of existing pathogens and our response to emerging pathogens and potential health threats.

“At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our collaboration provided the first research-use-only SARS-CoV-2 detection test that was provided in January 2020, only days after the new coronavirus was first sequenced.

“Together, we can further improve patient outcomes with innovative diagnostic solutions that alleviate healthcare costs.”

Subject to customary conditions, the deal is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.

In March this year, Roche agreed to acquire multiplex molecular diagnostic solutions provider GenMark Diagnostics in a deal valued at around $1.8bn.