Roche buys cervical cancer specialist mtm laboratories
Basel – Swiss pharma and diagnostics major Roche AG has agreed to buy privately-held Heidelberg-based mtm laboratories AG, a specialist for kits detecting pre-stages of cervical cancer, for up to EUR190m. Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will pay mtm’s shareholders an upfront payment of approximately EUR130m, as well as up to approximately EUR60m upon reaching certain performance-related milestones. The German company sells an in vitro diagnostic kit for the diagnosis of CIN lesions that occur before the development of cervical cancer. In the future, mtm will become part of Roche’s Tissue Diagnostics business unit, which markets PCR-based tests for the detection of the human papilloma viruses that trigger the development of cervical cancer. mtm’s test detects two markers for cell proliferation, p16INK4a und Ki-67, that can be stained with the kit. The diagnostic value of the test was proven in three European studies with more than 32,000 samples. Usually, cervical cancer is detected by a pap smear test, which is cheap but not very sensitive. mtm has proven that tests from its Cintech family can add a higher diagnostic sensitivity to the smear-test gold standard.